On paper, the matchup — Touki Toussaint vs. Yu Darvish — did not look overwhelmingly favorable.
Then Touki literally pitched the best game of his career.
Touki is only 25, but it feels like he’s been around forever and his window rapidly appears to be closing. Prior to tonight, he had literally only made two starts with a Game Score over 60 — in fact, he had only made two starts in which he completed six innings of work: his 2018 debut, in which he twirled a sparkling six-inning two-hitter, yielding just one run, and this game last year, when he pitched six near-flawless innings but then lost the plot when Snitker sent him out for the seventh.
I remember that game: it’s the day that I began to believe that Touki could be a real starting pitcher. Unfortunately, prior to tonight’s callup, he hadn’t been able to do much to reinforce that belief over the past 11 months.
Until tonight: 6 2/3 innings, three hits, and just one run, against one of the best teams in baseball. Then, somehow, Matzek, Martin, and Smith got the last seven outs, shutting the door.
I’m going to quote at length from Keith Law’s scouting report of Touki’s gem last year, because it was exactly what made him successful tonight:
Toussaint was 93-95 mph with a very effective split-change anywhere from 83-88 mph and two breaking balls, a short slider at 83-87 mph and a two-plane curveball at 74-79 mph, giving up just a few hard-hit balls… This is the guy his believers all thought he could be when he was a first-rounder in 2014, translating his athleticism into more consistency with his delivery and his stuff.
It’s a good thing he showed up, because Darvish was as advertised, and the Braves managed the exact same five-hit total that the Padres did, the difference in the game being provided by Freddie’s sixth-inning solo shot. Don’t look now, but he’s the same old Fredward. Since June 1, he’s hitting .340/.414/.574, which is looking more like his MVP pace last year of .341/.462/.640.
We’ve got a one-game winning streak!