Before Tuesday night, there had been 23 pitchers in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game, and we almost have a 24th. On just the third official day of the season, we already have ourselves a perfect pitcher as Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish nearly tossed a perfect game against the Houston Astros, which would have made him the first pitcher to have thrown a perfect game in Minute Maid Park and the second Texas Rangers pitcher to have tossed a perfect game.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs, Darvish failed to knock down a ground ball shot right back at him and allowed his first hit of the game. To demonstrate just how cool Darvish was on Tuesday night, he smiled when he lost the perfect game. Darvish allowed the grounder right through his five-hole and missed history by mere inches and mere tenths of seconds. Had Darvish reacted a bit quicker or been placed inches back, we would have witnessed history. Instead, we saw a dominating performance from one of the best rising stars in the game today.
Before his start against the Astros, Darvish had already experienced his fair share of success, but this was by far his finest start and gives Rangers fans a lot of hope that they do indeed have an ace in Darvish and that he can one day carry the rotation moving forward. Not only that, but baseball fans can consider themselves even more spoiled with yet another great pitcher in this era of boom for starting pitchers.
As for the Astros, they’re coming off a season where they were the worst team in baseball and this is not something fans were clamoring to see. Had Darvish completed the perfect game, it wouldn’t have been the first time in the last calendar year that the Astros would have been on the wrong end of a perfect game, as they were shut down with perfection by San Francisco Giants ace Matt Cain last June.
They best part of Darvish’s perfect game, while it lasted, was how cool he was down the stretch of it. Normally, pitchers are quiet, tense and focused on the mound when they get as deep as Darvish did into a perfect game. But Darvish was loose, talkative and genuinely looked like he was having a ball throwing his perfect game, which is something that makes it even more amazing.
We’ve had great starts to seasons before, and Yu Darvish has added yet another great start to a season by a pitcher in 2013. Clayton Kershaw had a very fine day yesterday, throwing a complete game shutout while also hitting his first career home run, and Darvish nearly followed that up with perfection.
Baseball is back, pitchers are hot and it’s looking like we’re in store for one heck of a summer.