It Was Almost a Beautiful Thing

USA TODAY Sports

The crack of the bat denies a tip of the hat.

There's really not much to write about. It was truly a night for Yu Darvish who was magnificent against the Astros, striking out 14 out of 26 batters he faced without a base hit, only to surrender a hit with one out left to have before he has a perfect game. A simple stream of consciousness could include: Darvish, Almost Perfect Game, Sharp Slider, Astros batters swing at pitches out of zone, lay off pitches in the zone, 14 strikeouts. But are words even necessary? Even though the Astros lost in a shutout with a score 7-0, this was one of the most exciting shutouts I have ever witnessed. When Marwin hit that ball up the middle the Astros fan in me was excited, but the true baseball fanatic inside me was disappointed; to watch the game from start to finish and see such a rare feat being unfolded, it broke my heart that the game ended in the way it did - two singles and a strikeout. So close, yet so far away. One can get lost in the action of the game.

But whatever ends up happening, baseball is baseball.

You have memories to embrace and upsets disgraced, and masterpieces ending on baseballs swung and laced.

But to get to the meat of it, Darvish absolutely dominated. It could be argued that it wasn't purely his effort as he had the Astros batters to face, and that is something that has a little credence. But even with all of our strikeout-prone hitters, it takes a certain skill to keep all of them off base into the 9th inning of a game. As Darvish pitched, one could not watch the Astros come up to bat without cringing as almost every swing could not kiss the baseball. What I'm describing here can be described in words as:

Pitch thrown into strike zone, batter lays off.

Pitch thrown out of strike zone, batter flails away.

Batter strikes out on nasty slider.

There were many pitches that patient hitters could have laid off, though. But then again, there were many more pitches that were absolute beauties. Darvish's slider was smokin' with sharp, slicing movement all throughout the game and batters couldn't lay off. With late movement, I could see why that was. And that simple fact has to be respected.

The Astros bullpen blew this Popsicle stand right open, giving up 6 runs after Lucas Harrell left the game after 6 strong innings. But does it even matter which bullpen pitchers gave up the runs? Does it matter that Rhiner Cruz gave up a 2-run home run on a fastball down the middle of the half-pipe? Does it matter that our closer Jose Veras gave up another two runs? Even if all of them pitched scoreless innings, we still would have lost. But that is that. The score was not 1-0, but 7-0. And it was quite a beautiful 7-0, though an imperfect one.

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