If you have not seen the spot done by MLB about Justin Verlander and why he is so hard to hit, check it out. Hint, it’s all about the release point.
Once you’ve watched this, you’ll wonder how anyone manages to hit Verlander. Verlander is very good, but so is the Sox mound nemesis today, Yu Darvish. Here is a similar post about him.
Darvish leads the majors in strikeouts with 58 in 38 2/3 IP. Major leaguers swing and miss a lot when faced with Darvish’s five pitch repertoire.
- SO/9 rate is 13.5
- SO/BB is 4.46
- SO% is 38.4%
To put that in some perspective, his Sox opponent on the mound today is Jon Lester. His rates:
- SO/9 rate is 7.9
- SO/BB is 2.75
- SO% is 21.3%
There have only been two pitchers in the history of baseball to throw more then 150 innings in a season and have a SO/9 rate of greater then 13.0 – Randy Johnson in 2001 (13.4) and Pedro Martinez in 1999 (13.2). Both won the Cy Young award in those years. If Darvish can keep this up, and this is the year of the strikeout, he will join some pretty elite company and be the front runner for the 2013 Cy Young award.
If the Sox are to avoid a Texas sweep they will need an outstanding outing from Lester and an off day from Darvish. So far the Texas staff has been anything but off and have lived up to their early season designation as the best pitching staff in the American league. In 18 innings the Rangers have held the Sox to 13 hits (just two extra base hits- both doubles) and 3 walks, while striking out 15 and allowing only 1 run. That’s a pitching buzz saw.
But, as Casey Stengel would say, “Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.” Lets hope for some vice-versa this afternoon.