Yu Darvish looked unhittable against the Cardinals Friday night as he showcased various iterations of his traditional pitch types. His pitches were so nasty that Statcast’s classification system couldn’t even accurately identify them.
According to Statcast, Darvish threw four- and two-seam fastballs about half the time. As we learned from the man himself after the game, however, at least one of those sinkers was incorrectly identified. It dropped off like a rock upon reaching the plate, more than a typical sinker, but at 93 mph, what options were there?
Under normal circumstances, we’d have gone on thinking Darvish got Matt Carpenter on a wicked two-seam. Except the man who Theo Epstein called “the premier strikeout pitcher of our generation” tweeted at me to say that offering was actually a splitter.
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) June 1, 2019
Only four splitters in all of MLB this season have been thrown as fast as the pitch above. And that is what makes the big righty so unique. Consider that Statcast classified Darvish’s 93 pitches against St. Louis into seven different buckets: four-seam, two-seam, changeup, cutter, slider, and curve. Well, I guess we can petition them to make it eight.
In addition to showing a splitter, Darvish’s outing in St. Louis also featured his highest four-seam frequency (33.3%) since April 27 against the D-backs (37.2%). Though it didn’t look good at the outset, Darvish was able to regain his composure and throw his fastball for strikes. His ability to do that more consistently spells trouble for future Cubs opponents.
And when he follows up that 95 mph four-seamer with 93 mph splitters, batters may as well just concede the out and save themselves the embarrassment of trying to hit him.