Apr 11, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) throws in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Global Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Arlington, Tex – Texas Rangers right handed pitcher Yu Darvish has only pitched two games this season, but those two starts are reminiscence of last season. Over those two starts he has allow zero runs but, the Texas Rangers offense hasn’t given him any run support either.
Friday’s game against the Houston Astros Darvish pitched another outstanding game. He pitched 8 shutout innings and recorded 9 strike outs against them on Friday and it appeared it could have been another 1-0 loss to the Astros. It seemed that way because last year the Texas Rangers lost four 1-0 games with Darvish pitching. Not only is that tough for fans, but it has to be especially frustrating for the players.
Why can’t Yu Darvish get any run support? Maybe one thing to consider is that each time the Texas Rangers have Yu Darvish on the mound, the other team also has their ace on the mound. Take for example Opening day when the Philadelphia Phillies sent Cliff Lee to the mound. Ranger fans have seen plenty of him over the years.
Granted, the Rangers managed to get him on Opening day, but would things have been different had Darvish been pitching? My answer is no, it would seem likely if Darvish had pitched on Opening day, the Rangers would have likely won.
During the Tampa Bay Rays series, Darvish was matched up against Alex Cobb. Again, Cobb was one of the Rays’ best pitchers and the Rangers didn’t get any runs on the board until both Darvish and Cobb exited the game. Cobb threw 7 shutout innings with 6 strikes outs.
And most recently, Darvish was matched up against the Houston Astros’ ace Scott Feldman. And before you judge, yes that Feldman.
Feldman since leaving the Rangers have pitched very well and at the moment looks very solid. Against the Rangers on Friday he pitched very well and effectively shutdown the Rangers offense.
Besides the pitching match up being ace versus ace, maybe it has carried on so long it is now a mental thing for the team. There could be extra pressure each time Yu Darvish pitches because the fans, media and Darvish expects it. It can be denied, each time Darvish pitches exceptions are high for him and the team. It is almost to the point everyone expect perfection out of the team. Granted, Darvish almost delivers that for each outing. To me, the thing for the Rangers to remember when Yu Darvish pitches is to simply relax. Play the game like you normally do, don’t add any extra pressure and the right things will happen. At times it has seemed they are trying a bit too hard at hitting the ball. Sometimes it seems that everyone is trying to drive one out of the park to give the team and Darvish the lead.
Fans want a no-hitter/perfect game from Yu Darvish. Do I think it will happen? Yes, but I’m optimistic, maybe sometime overly optimistic. But the truth is, it may not, no-hitters and perfect games don’t happen often for a reason, they rare. It takes a great pitcher, which Yu Darvish is, but there is some luck that goes with that. Batters will hit ball in-to play, and just like what happened in Houston last year with Marwin Gonzalez, one can easily get away for a hit.
Last year Yu Darvish had an average run support of 4.30, which wasn’t the worst of all starters, but was close. So far this year the Rangers haven’t scored any runs while Darvish is pitching. Will that change, yes of course it will! The bats will eventually get some runs, but it won’t likely be easy.
The next match up has Yu Darvish going against Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez on Wednesday. That could be another low scoring game that is won again by the bullpen.