While Yu Darvish sports a 2-0 record and a 3.57 ERA in his first three MLB starts, his control has left something to be desired. The 25-year-old righty, formerly of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, has walked nearly as many batters (13) as he has whiffed (14) in 17.2 innings pitched. Your first inclination might be to think that Darvish has been a Dice-K-like nibbler, preferring to throw pitches out of the strike zone and relying upon hitters to chase. That hasn't really been the case, though. Rather, Darvish appears to have gotten some tough calls from ups so far.
Despite his high walk total, Darvish's percentage of pitches thrown in the strike zone (52) is actually well above the 48 percent average for AL starting pitchers in 2012. But when it comes to getting called strikes on pitches taken in the strike zone, Darvish lags behind. Take a look at his called strike rate on in-zone pitches taken, and then the AL average for starters:
Overall, AL starters have a called strike rate of 78% on pitches taken in the strike zone. Darvish, however, has a called strike rate of just under 67% in such situations. That's dead last among AL starters who have faced at least 40 batters:
Called strike rate on in-zone pitches taken by batters, 2012
|C. J. Wilson||52||79.4%|
The umps' skinny strike zone and a low chase rate by batters when Darvish has thrown a pitch out of the zone (22 percent, compared to the 28% average) have led to Yu's control woes. Yu has to hope he stops getting squeezed so much starting on Tuesday against the Yankees.