Yu Darvish enjoyed his best stateside start last night, shutting out the New York Yankees while recording bunches of strikeouts (10) and ground balls (12) in 8.1 innings pitched. Per usual, Darvish had his expansive repertoire on display, throwing fewer than 50 percent fastballs while also mixing in cutters, sliders, curves and splitters. But what made his Tuesday night start so successful is that he got typically patient Bombers batters to go fishing.
Yankees hitters chased 25 of Darvish's 64 pitches thrown out of the strike zone (39 percent), compared to 22 percent during his first three major league starts. The Yankees had shown pretty good plate discipline prior to Tuesday's hacking, entering the day with a 26 percent chase rate (28 percent MLB average).
Darvish was particularly adept at getting New York's lefty-swinging batters -- switch-hitters Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira as well as Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez -- to try to poke at pitches off the outside corner. Here's the location of the Yankees' out-of-zone swings against Darvish:
Darvish took advantage of New York's free-swinging ways by racking up seven of his strikeouts on pitches swung at outside of the strike zone. He got Swisher and Ibanez twice, plus Granderson, Teixeira and righty Derek Jeter once.