Yu Darvish looks to be in Cy Young form in this early season. He has four wins, leads the league in strikeouts (49) and already flirted with a perfect game. Darvish was dominant again on Wednesday, giving up only three hits and not allowing a run to the Los Angeles Angels while striking out 11 in six innings. It was the third time in six starts this year he's struck out at least 10.
And while any number of numbers could tell you how filthy Darvish has been lately, this GIF — crafted by Redditor DShep — shows how dynamic Yu's pitches are in one glance.
As Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan points out, that's not even Yu's full arsenal.
The Darvish GIF doesn't even include his splitter or cutter. There's a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, hard curve, slow curve and slider.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 25, 2013
The game's best pitchers can throw a handful of pitches, but few absolutely command more than a few. Darvish can. On Wednesday night, he did not throw a splitter or a changeup. He threw a few cutters, a few more curveballs, and rode his fastball and slider. And the Angels had no chance in a game that eventually ended at 11-3.
Scouts, managers, teammates and opponents agree Darvish is better this April than he was last season, when he came to the U.S., adjusted to the baseball and the routines and the deeper lineups and won 16 games, had a 3.90 ERA and struck out 221 in 191 1/3 innings. Against the Angels, a single baserunner appeared to be an act of mercy.
"He's coming out of the bullpen knowing what he has working," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's not trying to throw everything he has. What I think we're seeing is the type of pitcher he always was. It just took him half-a-year."
Perhaps opposing AL West hitters shouldn't look at the above GIF. It might haunt them while they sleep.