On Friday, Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers threw a not-often-seen pitch to Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter. With a seven run lead in the seventh inning, two out, and no one on base, Darvish took advantage of an 0-2 count to float a 55-mph eephus pitch to Hunter.
It wasn’t a strike, but Hunter’s reaction was classic; as the pitch floated inside, he flinched and leaned back to get out of the way of the bonbon offered by Darvish. Hunter subsequently struck out.
The eephus, a word believed to be derived from a Hebrew word for “nothing,” doesn’t curve or sink or speed on its way to plate. It takes a slow, arching approach. Rip Sewell of the Pirates pioneered the pitch, famously giving up a home run on it to Ted Williams at the 1946 All-Star game.
Darvish improved to 4-2 on the 9-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The two teams square off again today in Detroit shortly after 4 p.m.