There’s no doubt that a fastball in the mid-to-high 90s is a deadly weapon for any pitcher. But an underrated aspect of pitching is being able to change speeds effectively, which is something that Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish does very well.
While Darvish is able to deliver easy gas on his fastball (upwards of 96 mph per Pitchf/x), he also has an arsenal of devastating breaking pitches that confound the best hitters—something Albert Pujols knows all too well.
What you may not know, however, is that Darvish is able to throw the magnificent pitch that is known as the Eephus. Yes, THE Eephus, the mythical breaking ball that travels so slow it flusters the batter into oblivion.
Here is Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind succumbing to the pitch, which clocked in at just 63 mph:
Darvish broke out the pitch once again on Thursday, confusing the shit out of Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter:
That one clocked in at 55 mph. While the particular pitch didn’t get Hunter—he was too baffled to do anything—he did eventually strikeout.
Darvish already throws any pitch at any count, so this has to be even more unsettling for anyone stepping into the batter’s box against him.