Same exact release point on five different pitches. You’ve probably seen this gif somewhere on the internet, but it needed added here.
How in the world is anyone supposed to be able to hit this guy?
As noted, Yu Darvish came so close to perfection. Marwin Gonzalez? See for yourself. If only Darvish had better waist bend.
H/T to FanGraphs
Marwin Gonzalez kept everyone from seeing history tonight. His single in the bottom of the 9th inning was only the second ball that left the infield off Yu Darvish all night long.
The guy was so dominant; I don’t know where to begin. Yes, it was against the Houston Astros lineup which didn’t have many hits in it to begin with after blowing their load on Opening Night, but it was still impressive. This was the first Darvish start that I’ve watched from start to finish. He struck out 14 Astros on the night and featured a fastball that crept up to 97 miles per hour at one point.
The guy has pretty much announced to the world that he’s elite with this start if he hadn’t already prior. My fantasy team thanks Yu (pun).
Now for the stats rundown.
Home Runs: 1 (Ian Kinsler 1)
Stolen bases: none (still haven’t seen a stolen base live yet, lost art)
Official time watching baseball: 2 hours, 54 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 1
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): two
Household chores completed that I’ve been asked to do: zero
STATS during the 2000-Inning Quest:
Home Runs: 5
Bryce Harper home runs: 2
Stolen bases: NONE
Official time watching baseball: 12 hours, 49 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 7
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): two
Innings left to go: 1,953 (I’m giving myself 7 more innings b/c I watched the Giants/Dodgers game on MLB Network too before finding something else to do)
It will either make me feel the part of fantasy baseball genius or fantasy fool.
In my big money, bigger pride fantasy baseball rotisserie league I made a trade last night for Matt Moore to add to my staff that will already feature my keeper Chris Sale. Today, I dealt a pair of round 11 draft picks that I acquired throughout last season for Yu Darvish.
I wanted the guy last year and couldn’t get it done. After intense study of his Fangraphs page, I’ve seen enough. I don’t like the walks, but I’m willing to bargain with the guy. A couple of projection systems have him dropping his walks per nine total to the 3.5 range. One of these guys includes my offense-happy friend Bill James. One system even had Darvish under 3.00 per nine.
I am counting heavily on Yu this season. It won’t be the first time a well laid plan didn’t execute but I’m all in and firing every bullet in this league until the end.
For the first time in the history of this blog (and the sport in general), the postseason kicks off with two Wildcard teams playing a one game play-in the day before the real deal gets going.
National League: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
The last time Fredi Gonzalez was in this situation, he didn’t fare so well. He’s not a good manager, and his immensely talented team has brought him back for a chance at redemption despite his attempts to sabotage them all. It’s a testament to the winning culture in Atlanta, and the fact that they want to send their strong leader Chipper Jones out as he deserves; a winner.
The Cardinals had enough magic last season to last them a lifetime. If you were like us, you waited all season long for a Cardinals run that never really came. We have no doubts that the Cardinals will have some great runs in the future under Mike Matheny, and this season was a nice start to his managerial career. But these Cardinals are not made with the same ingredients that made them great at this time last year. They just aren’t.
They’ve still got the ability to score and knock down fences with the best of them, but there’s some smoke and mirrors within their starting rotation. Adam Wainwright has a lot of mileage on his arm, Chris Carpenter missed most of the season, and the wildcard game starter Kyle Lohse had a career year that seems to be an anomaly more than a constant.
The baseball gods will allow the Braves to extract some sweet revenge on the team that stole their spot like a thief in the night a year ago. Fredi and the Braves will win tomorrow night in Atlanta and give Chipper Jones one final crack at a ring that has eluded him since 1995. The Cardinals season ends tomorrow.
Prediction: Braves over Cardinals
American League: Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers
My goodness we love Ron Washington. His speech to his troops before World Series game seven last postseason is the thing that legends are made of. And how about those tricky Orioles? Who in their right mind had Buck Showalter and the Orioles here at this point? No one. Not a damn person outside the Baltimore fan base, and if you try to tell me otherwise you’re lying.
The Orioles have strung together a rag-tag bunch that includes Mark Reynolds, Robert Andino, Nate McLouth, and Chris Davis. Of course they’ll go to the Hellhouse that is the Ballpark in Arlington, to face all of those terrifying hitters and F-bomb dropping Ron Washington and they’ll start a pitcher (Joe Saunders) who I would consider waiver wire garbage. Were they trolling late-night for catfish the night that they found Saunders? He started seven games for the Orioles this season. They haven’t a season like this since I was still searching for my first kiss. And they’re going to let Joe Saunders decide their season? This is who you throw out there to decide the biggest game this team has played in decades? That’s TV I’ve got to see.
But you know what? The baseball gods are a funny thing.
Here are teams on the opposite side of the spectrum. One team is littered with superstars, while the other just appears littered. The Rangers will throw their high-dollar import special Yu Darvish to oppose Saunders. The Rangers have about as much postseason experience up and down the roster as anyone in the field this year. The Orioles have little to none.
Everyone in the world will pick the Rangers tomorrow night. It would probably make sense to do the same. But something in my gut tells me that this Texas team has learned the just how long and impossible the journey seems. They’re jaded. They dropped the World Series two years ago. Last year they climbed back up that tall hill only to see it slip away in the most gut-wrenching fashion possible in sports. If that wasn’t enough to kill the spirits of this team, getting caught by the Oakland Athletics and losing the division title after leading the way for 99% of the season has destroyed this team’s inner conscious. I’m telling you that they’re mentally cooked.
Look back at the other side now, those tricky Orioles. They don’t know what they’re about to embark upon. They haven’t been here. They can say ‘who gives a shit, the whole damn season has been crazy anyways’. They have been starting Mark Reynolds the last few seasons. What do they care? Here’s a situation where I think lack of experience helps a team. In this one game scenario, they can catch some lightning in a bottle because they aren’t able to fully grasp the moment. All the pressure in the world is on our beloved Ron Washington and his Cocaine Cowboys of the West.
Most of all, in this life when everything seems so certain; it isn’t at all. Go the other way with the pick that everyone will go one way with. When they zig, you zag.
Prediction: Orioles over Rangers
Last night on another thrilling edition in the saga of The Baseball Show, Mike Rosenbaum of The Golden Sombrero and M.J. Lloyd of Halo Hangout and Off Base Percentage and I discuss the following topics:
-The Yu Darvish signing
-M.J.’s ProGUESTus Debut at Baseball Prospectus
-The Pineda for Montero trade
-Fausto Carmona is Roberto Heredia. If you had a faux name, who would you be?
-The best prospect haul for a pitcher this off-season
As always we had some laughs and got a good idea for next week’s show; memorabilia talk and Mickey Mantle stories. If you have some time to listen to this week’s show on a Friday in the office or over the weekend we will hopefully make you laugh or enlighten your day by talking baseball and a lot of other topics.