The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yu Darvish is one of the best “stuff” pitchers in baseball, featuring a variety of pitches that are absolutely filthy when he’s on his game. On Friday night, the right-hander was anything but on his game, and that was a big problem given that it was Game 3 of the World Series against the best lineup in the majors.

The Houston Astros roughed Darvish up for four earned runs and six hits allowed in just 1 2/3 innings, the shortest outing of Darvish’s career. The upcoming free agent was lucky to even get a couple of those outs that were rockets right at Dodgers’ defenders. He only got one real swing and a miss in 49 pitches.

Maybe Darvish was drained after throwing about 200 innings (regular season and postseason combined) this year. Maybe pitching a World Series game on the road in a crazy environment got to him. Maybe he just had an off night; they happen for every pitcher, and sometimes it’s not just a thing a pitcher can will their way through. Whatever the case, Darvish was very off, and it was quickly evident.

Like, with the first batter Darvish faced. Darvish fell behind 3-1 to George Springer, and Springer smoked a fastball for a 111-mph double.

Darvish got out of the inning without any runs allowed, but he wasn’t as fortunate in the second inning. The first batter was Yuli Gurriel, and he ripped a 104-mph homer down the left field line.

The homer was followed by a Josh Reddick double, an Evan Gattis walk, a Marwin Gonzalez RBI single, and a Brian McCann RBI single.

Finally, Darvish got an out, but on the hardest-hit ball of the inning with this Springer 105-mph lineout on a 92-mph meatball pitch from Darvish.

The next batter was Alex Bregman, and he also hit a 103-mph lineout on what appeared to be either a flat cutter or flat slider. Either way, it was very hittable, and Bregman smoked it for a sac fly.

And that was followed by Jose Altuve crushing this 108-mph double off the wall.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts finally decided to pull Darvish, but it was probably a few batters too late (though it was understandable that Roberts didn’t want to have to use his pen so early). Darvish allowed more batted balls of 100+ mph (six) than he got outs (five).

And it was his slider that was particularly awful on the night. Here are a couple examples of what Darvish’s slider looks like on a good night:

But it was very flat on Friday night, as these charts show and Fox color commentator John Smoltz broke down on the broadcast:

What makes this awful outing from Darvish even worse for the Dodgers is that Game 4 is tomorrow and Game 5 is Sunday. The Dodgers will have to use several pitchers in this game, and had to use their best long man in Kenta Maeda for 2 2/3 innings. Left-hander Alex Wood goes for the Dodgers tomorrow, and he hasn’t thrown over six innings in a game since Aug. 15. The Dodgers’ pitching staff and Dave Roberts have their hands full over the next few games against this outstanding Houston lineup.


About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at