A misplaced 99-mph fastball can do plenty of damage to the person standing in the batter's box, but Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish ensured that not one, not two, but three unlucky people felt the wrath of his heat on Monday night.
Unleashing unusually fast stuff with a three-run cushion in the sixth inning of Monday's 7-2 win over the Miami Marlins, the veteran pitcher sent the ball rocketing toward the inner thigh of Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. But the ball didn't just hit Brinson. It hit him, then the umpire, then Darvish's own catcher. An improbable but deadly three-for-one shot.
Brinson ended up being Darvish's final batter on the night, with the three-birds-one-stone fastball serving as the Cubs starter's 96th and final pitch of the game. And it turns out there's a reason the pitch was so dangerous: Darvish wasn't aiming for the strike zone in the first place.
As told to reporters after the win, Darvish was using his final pitches to work on improving his velocity, not necessarily get strikes.
"I'm Yu Darvish," he joked. "I walk guy(s) ... That was my last inning. That's why I threw as hard as I could. I'm trying to throw as hard as I could. Not for the strike zone. Just as hard as I could."
As the Chicago Tribune notes, Darvish's fastball has tended to top out around 95 miles per hour since the former Texas Rangers ace joined the Cubs in 2018. According to Mark Gonzales, Chicago inked him to his big-money contract "because of his strikeout potential, but they hadn't witnessed his velocity registering this high until Monday."
Maybe next time, however, three people won't have to bear the brunt of it.