Yu Darvish returned from the flu Darvish Tuesday night against Atlanta and appeared to be locating better than in previous starts. Perhaps that is because he didn’t throw one sinker to Braves batters, the first time all season Darvish failed to use the offering.
Before he took the mound against the Braves, the Japanese ace was throwing around 30 percent total sinkers this season (see graph below).
Of course, it’s possible that the pitch classifier is miscategorizing Darvish’s fastballs. Maybe he did throw some sinkers and the computers aren’t showing the pitches as such. But if that was true, I’d expect some of his four-seams to also have more tailing action, which wasn’t the case.
So I think we can say with confidence that Darvish did in fact avoid the sinker in his abbreviated start. That’s a trend worth monitoring because Darvish relied heavily on that pitch to start this season.