A season that’s been filled with milestones for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a team and personal level, Yu Darvish joined the list by becoming the fastest pitcher in MLB history to record 1,000 career strikeouts.
He got Carlos Gonzalez to swing over the top of a slider that was down and in to the left-handed slugger. Darvish reached the benchmark in his 128th career game and 812th inning pitched. He bested former Chicago Cubs ace Kerry Wood, who didn’t reach 1,000 career strikeouts until his 134th game and in 853 innings.
In addition to becoming the fastest pitcher in terms of games and innings, Darvish is also the fastest to do it by batters faced (3,368). That’s fewer than his Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw, who didn’t complete the feat until 3,919 batters faced.
A total of 501 pitchers in MLB history have recorded at least 1,000 career strikeouts. Seattle Mariners righty Mike Leake figures to be next, as he’s currently at 970 punch-outs.
While Darvish reached the milestone in the fourth inning of what was unfolding as an encouraging start, it quickly turned in the fifth. The Colorado Rockies to that point only had one run on the board, courtesy of Gonzalez’s homer in the first inning, and were trailing 4-1.
Curtis Granderson booted a ball in his attempt to cut it off, which resulted in a one-out double for Alexi Amarista, Jonathan Lucroy walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch.
Joc Pederson then was unable to make a diving catch on a soft flare to left-center field, resulting in a two-run double for Raimel Tapia. He scored on Charlie Blackmon’s RBI double down the first-base line that caught enough of the chalk to stay fair.
DJ LeMahieu followed with an RBI double down the third-base line that got by a diving Justin Turner, who was playing off the line. The four-run inning was enough to propel the Rockies to a 5-4 comeback victory.
Darvish was lifted with one out in the fifth inning. “A couple guys came in and congratulated me,” said Darvish of reaching the benchmark. “And that was great, but that wasn’t my goal today. It was not much to me. I want to win.”