Friday, December 9, 2022

Padres’ Yu Darvish records 3,000th career strikeout, joins Hideo Nomo in select class


Padres right-hander Yu Darvish made history on Friday night as part of San Diego’s 7-1 victory (box score) over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Darvish, who struck out nine batters over seven shutout innings, recorded his 3,000th career strikeout during the fifth inning. “Career” in this instance includes both his time in Major League Baseball, and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. Darvish is just the second pitcher to ever clear the 3,000-strikeout threshold while notching at least 1,000 strikeouts in each league: the first was Hideo Nomo, who happens to work for the Padres as a baseball operations advisor. 

“Longevity and just being able to stay in the game for this long — all in all, I’m grateful,” Darvish told through a team interpreter. “I feel grateful right now.”

Darvish, 36 years old, spent the first seven seasons of his professional career with the Nippon Ham Fighters. He appeared in 167 games and struck out 1,250 batters in 1,268 innings pitched. The Fighters posted Darvish after the 2011 season, and he subsequently joined the Texas Rangers. He’s since also appeared with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. In 237 games in MLB, he’s compiled 1,753 strikeouts over the course of 1,456 innings. His strikeouts per nine rate of 10.8 is the second-best in MLB history for a pitcher with at least 1,400 innings, trailing only Chris Sale (11.1).

With Friday night’s start in the books, Darvish is now sporting seasonal marks that include a 3.26 ERA (115 ERA+) and a 5.23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His contributions have been worth an estimated 3.6 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference.

The Padres, who entered Saturday with a four-game lead for a wild-card spot, will conclude their series with the Dodgers on Sunday.

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