Yu Darvish reacts after striking out Josh Hamilton in the seventh inning. We were excited too Yu!
It wasn't enough for Yu Darvish to turn in his fifth 14-strikeout performance of the season on Monday afternoon in Houston.
So instead, he struck out 15 Astros hitters to set a new career-high for strikeouts and joined elite company of Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson in the live-ball era (post-1920) as having four games in one season of at least 14 strikeouts and no more than one walk.
After falling one out shy of a perfect game in his first start of the season against the Astros — when he fanned 14 and walked none — Darvish took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Monday after losing his perfect game bid in the sixth on a controversial no-call of a Strike 3 that eventually led to a walk. In the eighth inning, Houston catcher Carlos Corporan hit a solo homer to right field. It was the only hit the Astros managed all day as Joe Nathan came in to close out the game in the ninth inning and give the Rangers a 2-1 win, their eighth straight victory.
Darvish improved to 12-5 on the season and pushed his ERA down to 2.64.
Since returning from the disabled list after a precautionary stay that spanned over the all-star break, Darvish is now 4-1 in his five starts and has posted a 1.31 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 10 walks to go with 19 hits in 34 1/3 innings. That's some dominant stuff right there, folks.
He now leads all of baseball since the beginning of the 2012 season with 17 outings of double-digit strikeouts, ahead of Max Scherzer and Chris Sale, who have nine such outings apiece.
Sure, we'd all like to see Darvish be more efficient from time to time (Monday's start wasn't too problematic), but what we're seeing this season is pretty special when it comes to dominant starting pitching. The Rangers can only hope it's a sign of things to come in the next few years.