Whether he was tipping his pitches or not, the Astros had no problem figuring out Yu Darvish.
Later down the road, fans will remember that the Astros won the World Series with a valiant effort by Charlie Morton. Fans will also remember going through the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers to win the World Series. These are all big market teams that the young Astros team took care of.
Many fans may not remember, but after the July 31st deadline, people called the Astros losers for not making a deal. More specifically, for not trading for Yu Darvish. This was during the minutes following the trade deadline, before the news broke that he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If they traded for Darvish, we would not have Verlander.
While Astros fans didn’t think much of that deal, it became a big factor in winning the World Series. If they had traded for Darvish, there is no way that they would have acquired Justin Verlander. While Jose Altuve literally loves Verlander, they couldn’t have won the World Series without him.
The Astros would have traded several top prospects for Darvish for the rest of season. Instead, they have Verlander for the next two years. As Bregman said, “that’s two more World Series.” Instead, the Astros were able to get two wins off Darvish in the World Series.
But why did the Astros have success off him?
Darvish has a long history versus the Astros, almost throwing a perfect game that was broken up by Marwin Gonzalez in 2013 in the 9th inning. While Darvish has dominated the Stros in the past, the tide had changed in 2017. They didn’t light him up, but they weren’t dominated by Darvish either. In two starts versus Houston, Darvish was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings. He struck out 12 batters while walking four batters and hitting a batter.
Was Darvish tipping his pitches?
Back in July, Jeff Passan tweeted that the Marlins saw that Darvish was tipping his pitches. According to scouts, there was a slight pause with his hands before he threw a fastball. I retweeted Passan’s Tweet. Alex Cora, who is now the Red Sox manager, replied to Passan with the gif below.
Did Cora really remember this when the Astros faced Darvish in the World Series? It may not have been the same issue this time around, but the Astros had no problem figuring Darvish out. In fact, Carlos Beltran was about to say that Darvish was tipping his pitches before David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez talked him out of it after the game.
In the World Series versus Houston, Darvish was 0-2 with a 21.60 ERA. In those two starts, he pitched a total of 3 1/3 innings in those games. His pitches were not great, and the Astros were able to get some good looks at his pitches.
It wasn’t that Darvish wasn’t struggling this postseason, he just ran into a confident team in the Astros. Whether he was tipping his pitches or not, it just wasn’t working in the World Series. Darvish still has a bright future, but he is now a free agent. Will he stay in LA or go back home to Texas? Either way, versus most teams, Darvish is an ace. The Astros just took care of business.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***