Padres have baseball’s best 1-2 punch in Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove
By Jake Misener
Look, we knew the Padres were going to have good starting pitching this year. I mean, AJ Preller made adding impact arms to the rotation his top priority this offseason. Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove highlighted the club’s big offseason – and the latter duo have lived up to the hype and then some so far.
Let’s start with Darvish, who came over from the Cubs after finishing second in NL Cy Young voting last season. He came up big for San Diego on Friday night at Dodger Stadium, out-dueling left-hander Clayton Kershaw to give the Friars a second consecutive victory over Los Angeles.
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On the year, Darvish – who has been a Cy Young finalist twice and an All-Star four times – looks like an early favorite for both again in 2021. Coming off Friday’s dominant outing, he boasts a 2.27 ERA, 0.853 WHIP and 3.03 FIP. And there’s little reason to think he won’t keep on cruising as the season progresses.
San Diego acquired him for games like Friday. Head-to-head against the best team in baseball, Darvish didn’t back down from the challenge and pitched like a true ace. Given how much these two teams will square off this year, it’s unlikely to be the last time he gets to face his former team, too.
Musgrove has been a stud for the Padres
Musgrove, meanwhile, has arguably been the story of the year for the Padres. A local native, he came to San Diego from the Pirates this winter, calling the opportunity a dream. What has he done with said opportunity? Well, just about everything possible, including throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history.
His 1.04 ERA ranks fourth in the National League, trailing only superhuman Mets ace Jacob deGrom, Corbin Burnes and Marcus Stroman. His 0.54 WHIP is the second-best mark in the Senior Circuit and he’s posted an out-of-this-world 37-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
He’s changed how he attacks hitters – and the results clearly speak for themselves. His last time out? A masterful 13-strikeout performance in which none of his punchouts came via a fastball.
Musgrove is re-writing the book on how he attacks hitters and Darvish is teaching a master class every time out with his 10+ pitch arsenal. If the offense gets going and their two aces keep rolling, San Diego might be poised to go on a major run and erase the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West in the coming days and weeks.