Tip of the cap.

(Associated Press.)

Eighty-two strikes.

One hundred nineteen pitches.

Eighty-two strikes.

One way to beat the Yankees, and especially the Yankees, is to make them swing the bat.

Of the 33 Yankees that Yu Darvish faced, only 12 managed to start off with ball one.  That’s how you execute a game plan.

Ten strikeouts and 12 groundouts among his 25 outs.  Only three were retired by outfielders (incidentally, Mark Teixeira to center field each time).

He got out of trouble.  We’ve seen him do that every time out this year.

But each time out, he’s gotten into less trouble.

He threw sliders and curves and cutters and splitters and two-seamers, and every one of them he threw for strikes at least 70 percent of the time.

The rate was a bit lower on the four-seamer (62 percent), one of which touched 97, and of New York’s 15 swings-and-misses, none came on one of Darvish’s 42 four-seam fastballs.

There’s your blemish.

Not really.

Remember Darvish’s first inning as a Ranger?

His ERA is now 2.42.

And that includes that first inning against Seattle, because they make you do that.

After Monday night’s game, in which the Yankees forced Derek Holland to throw strikes and he didn’t do it often enough, I tweeted: “I’m concerned about tomorrow night.  Yu command issues and NYY patience.  Very concerned.”

And Darvish goes out and throws all but one pitch in a 2-0 Rangers win, pitching better than he did the last time out, which was better than the time before, which was better than the time before.

He got out of trouble when trouble surfaced.  About which his manager would say, after the game: “That’s what good pitchers does.”

He was really, really, really good.

Tip of the cap.

(Getty Images.)

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