Lack of fastball command haunts Darvish

July 4th, 2017

ARLINGTON -- Less than two weeks after a dazzling start in what could've been his best performance of the season in New York, had an outing against the Red Sox he'd like to soon forget.
Darvish matched his career highs in hits and runs on Tuesday in the Rangers' 11-4 loss to the Red Sox, and he was removed from the game after 4 1/3 innings, his shortest start of the year. This was just the seventh time in 118 career starts Darvish has gone 4 1/3 innings or less, and this was his shortest outing since facing the Astros on Sept. 4, 2016, when he lasted just four innings.
"[He] kind of got away from the fastball a little bit." Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Breaking stuff, it looked like they were sitting soft. The breaking stuff wasn't as sharp. I believe nine out of 11 hits were off of secondary pitches. Maybe he didn't have a feel for the fastball. The breaking ball just wasn't sharp."
Boston's finished 5-for-5 with six RBIs and two homers, the first of which was a three-run shot in the fifth inning that ended up knocking Darvish out of the game.
Outside of Benintendi's homer and a double by that caromed off the center-field wall, all the other hits Darvish allowed weren't hard hit. They were bloopers behind the infield, grounders that were just out of reach or seeing-eye singles.
According to Statcast™, three of the hits Darvish allowed had hit probabilities of less than 50 percent, including two that were under 15 percent. But those piled up, and eventually Darvish gave up the homer to Benintendi.

"I think that all the bloopers and the ground balls that I thought I would get an out [on] found a hole, and that became a hit," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I think that momentum went their way when that happened. ... Physically, I feel pretty good. I had a good fastball. For the next outing, I will just want to keep conditioning going towards the next game, and like I said, I want to keep pitching better. I want to get better every time I go out there."
Sometimes, that's just how the game goes.
"Again, Yu has all the stuff to be able to pitch through that," Banister said. "There are times where guys go out and they're not as sharp as obviously they'd like to be. It just seemed like that was one of the nights for Yu. I feel confident he'll bounce back and be ready to go."