April 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Eric Sogard (28) scores on a two-RBI single by center fielder Coco Crisp (4, not pictured) against Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11, center) as MLB home plate umpire Paul Nauert (right) during the second inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Oakland, Cali – The Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish hasn’t had any luck in Oakland over his career and that didn’t change last night. Darvish was give a quick lead off home run by Shin-Soo Choo in the first to give him the first lead and run he’s had all season.
Disappearing lead act: The Athletics were held scoreless in the first, but Coco Crisp managed to hit a single off of Darvish and didn’t waste any time stealing second base. Darvish seemed to almost forget about him at first. Crisp had a huge lead and Robinson Chirinos had no chance to make the throw for the out. Darvish did keep the inning scoreless, but the A’s offense started doing damage then. John Jaso and Josh Donaldson both too the count deep and would cause Darvish to finish the 1st with 19 pitches.
The second inning would be worse for Darvish. Brandon Moss smashed a deep fly ball to knot things up at 1 each. Coco Crisp was back up again in the order and again caused havoc for Darvish. Crisp managed to battle him over 8 pitches before he finally singled to bring in 2 runs. The early lead was now gone, Darvish was again pitching from behind.
How’s they do that: How do the A’s manage to make Darvish seem human? I think it is part of the Billy Beane system. The A’s hitters are very good at making pitchers have long counts at each at-bat. The more pitches the batter is able to see, the more familiar they are able to get to a pitcher. I think that is what they are doing very well against Yu Darvish. Josh Donaldson , John Jaso, and Coco Crisp took Darvish to a 6 or more count for a total of 34 pitches. It would be easy to assume there were a lot of foul balls, but that’s not the case. The A’s lineup was very effective in maximizing the count with a mixture of fouls, balls and strikes. Darvish didn’t have his first 1-2-3 inning until the 5th when he was able to get 3 ground outs. Before last night’s game, Darvish had only given up 4 walks, last night he gave that many up to the A’s. Also, Darvish is very good at strikeout batters, not so much last night. He did manage to record 6 strike outs, which is about his average, but those 6 seemed like they were hard earned. So, how did the A’s get to Darvish? Mainly by being patient hitters, drawing the walk and putting balls in play.
Give Darvish some credit: Even though Darvish ended the night with a no-decision, he’s needs to be credited for keeping the Texas Rangers in the game. He was banged up pretty good in the second, and his pitch count was already up to 48. Darvish remained cool and collected and didn’t let the situation bother him. He managed to get through 6 scoreless innings to give the Rangers a chance for the win. The Rangers did manage to show him some additional run support and had tied the game by the time he exited. Darvish didn’t get the win for the night, but he was able to contain the A’s. Maybe next time he’ll be able to use what he’s learned to improve his next performance when they play the Rangers in Arlington at the end of April.