Deep Dive: How Darvish dominated the Brewers

1 month agoLance Brozdowski

In the first inning of Darvish’s dominant start against the Brewers, he threw seven combined fastballs (four-seamers and sinkers). For the rest of the game, the right-hander didn’t eclipse five fastballs in any one inning.

With the plethora of pitches Darvish throws, it seems impossible for him to not mix things up, but with his cutter serving as his most used pitch in outings this season, his fastball usage acted as a way to set up his approach the second and third times he faced hitters.

In the 1st inning, he punched out Eric Sogard looking on a front-door sinker and fed Avisail Garcia three four-seamers before burying a hard cutter below the zone for a swinging strike three.

“I thought [Darvish] had really good command of his offspeed stuff tonight,” David Ross said. “The breaking ball was working… really kept ’em off balance.”

When Darvish faced Sogard in the 3rd inning again, he didn’t throw a pitch over 88 mph. Garcia saw four straight cutters in the 4th inning and stood no chance. Of the 55 cutters Darvish threw Thursday, the Brewers swung and missed at 15, a 30% higher rate of whiffs than he has been able to induce this season. The majority of those whiffs came in the middle innings as Darvish improved throughout the game.

“He used his fastball to set up his offspeed pitches,” Marquee Sports Network analyst Elise Menaker said. “This is what happens when they’re both working.”

Darvish carried his no-hitter into the seventh inning before Justin Smoak deposited a curveball into right field. Despite the homer, Darvish finished out the inning with his 11th strikeout, nearly doubling his season total to 27. His ERA is a sparkling 1.88 after four starts.

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