Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington likes to say that Yu Darvish can throw 29,000 different pitches.
Thanks to a poster Drew Sheppard on Lone Star Ball, we got to see him throw five pitches at once in his start Wednesday night against Los Angeles.
The GIF by Sheppard, who also has a YouTube video of every Darvish strikeout from 2012, shows Darvish throwing five pitches from basically the same release point at the same time with the ball doing different and unthinkable things to Los Angeles slugger Albert Pujols.
The five-in-one GIF probably sums up how the Los Angeles hitters felt Wednesday night against Darvish. He struck out 11 in six scoreless innings and is now the major league leader with 49 strikeouts.
“What’s really funny is it looks like it’s magic,” said Jason Parks, the national prospect/player development writer for Baseball Prospectus. “From the hitter’s point of view, that’s really what is happening. He was throwing four seamers at 98 mph. If he’s spotting that fastball, they (hitters) are completely at his mercy. After (he) established that fastball early in the game, it was a circus.”
Parks said Darvish’s outing Wednesday was the best he’s seen him pitch. That includes the near-perfect game that Darvish had in his first start of the season.
Darvish has struck out at least 10 batters 11 times in 34 starts for the Rangers. That’s tied for third in double-figure strikeout games in franchise history. Only Nolan Ryan (34) has more.