The thing I will remember from this game will not be Yu Darvish’s performance, as great as it was and as promising as this looks for him as he moved to 6-1. It will be Adrian Beltre, doing the “Adrian Beltre”. I am probably wrong, but I don’t remember any other player going to one knee to hit a homerun except Beltre. I’ve seen him do it as a Seattle Mariner, and a quick google search of “homerun on one knee” brings up the example that most Ranger fans will never forget – game five of last year’s World Series. Unfortunately, most Ranger fans also want to forget everything after that homerun.
Yesterday, Beltre’s homerun kicked started a four run inning and the way that Darvish was pitching, you knew it would be enough. It also didn’t hurt that Mike Adams and Joe Nathan were making the Athletics swing and miss like nobody’s business.
It is what makes the Rangers and their new ace so dangerous. You will have to work to get runs off of us, but our lineup can hit you with a homerun at any point, and even if they fall to their knees.
Hitting homeruns isn’t the only thing professional athletes can do from one knee. In hockey, you often see shooters drop to one knee when shooting a puck and scoring goals, especially on one-timers (where the shooter does not stop the puck from the pass.) In fact, Brett Hull who spent some time with the Dallas Stars, was the one to make the move mainstream. I don’t know if Adrian watches hockey, but you can’t help but think of that when you see him hit them out like he did last night.
The best part of Darvish’s outing wasn’t the seven strikeouts or allowing only one run, it was pitching into the 8th inning and throwing over 100 pitches. It allowed a tired bullpen a day of rest in the middle of a long stretch without a planned day off. Adams and Nathan had relatively easy innings and while I doubt Nathan will pitch tonight even in a save spot, everybody else except maybe Scott Feldman will be good to go if need be.
When the season first started, Darvish was the pitcher who had the question marks. Now, he has hit his stride and the question marks surround pretty much every other starter except maybe Neftali Feliz at this point. If you expect the other guys to turn it around, and I do, this Ranger team is even stronger than the last two that won the American League pennant.