Texas Rangers Mailbag: Yu Darvish, Ace? Rangers Struggle Through Grueling Schedule

This week’s question about the Texas Rangers asks about Japanese phenom Yu Darvish.

Jason, Ft Worth, Tx: Yu Darvish had another solid start Wednesday, has he been good enough to be considered the Rangers Ace?

Jason in one word, yes.  Darvish has been everything that the Rangers could have hoped for to this point, and he has certainly filled the void left by CJ. Wilson.  After Wednesday’s performance,Darvish is tied for the league lead in wins with 6, he’s 4th in strikeouts with 58, and 7th in the AL in ERA at 2.60.  Perhaps the most impressive feat of his young career has been the ability to pitch deep into ballgames and give the Rangers a chance to get him the win, he’s gone at least 5.1 innings in all 8 starts and at least 6.0 in 5 of them. Darvish’s stats speak for themselves, but his command on the mound and the camaraderie he’s shown with his teammates are very impressive.  One thing to remember is that Darvish is only 25, so he is still learning and getting used to baseball in America; if he continues to pitch this well, the 6-year $60 million contract will be a bargain and he will solidify the top of the Rangers rotation through at least 2017.

May 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) throws during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

 

Rangers Schedule

The Rangers haven’t had an off day since May 5th, and if you’ve watched them play in any game since the Angels series, it’s very evident.  They have played down to their competition, splitting four games against the Royals and A’s while looking very sluggish.  The Rangers put all they had into the two series’ last week against the Orioles and Angels: they scored 61 runs against the two opponents, played a double header, and went through an extended rain delay the day after. The recent stretch, although grueling, is not uncommon; they will go longer without a day off before the season is over, so hopefully they can get their legs back and play some better baseball going forward.

Rangers notes

May 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) throws during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Josh Hamilton had two at bats after pinch hitting in the 8th inning Thursday against Oakland; he failed to record a hit in either of them, which ended his 16 game hitting streak (the 2nd longest of his career.) Elvis Andrus continued his tear over the past week; his average rose to .329, which is the second highest its ever been in his career this late in the season.  Andrus leads the team with 15 multi-hit games and his 10 infield hits add to a league leading 44 for the Rangers as a team this year.

Nelson Cruz has been putting the boomstick to work in the last two weeks and getting back to form hitting .375 2HR 9RBI including a grand slam against the Angels.  Cruz is known for having streaks where he cant miss, but also times when he can’t hit anything, so hopefully things are coming together for him. Mitch Moreland isn’t playing every day, but he’s also hitting well over the last two weeks.  Moreland played very well against Oakland on Thursday hitting two home runs.  Moreland is hitting .340 with 3 HR and 9 RBI during that stretch. He’s only started a little over half of the Rangers games this season, but continuing to play like this should give Ron Washington the confidence to put him in the lineup more.

Upcoming Schedule

The Rangers open up the Lone Star series tonight in Houston, this will be the last time they make the trip to Houston as an interleague game because the Astros will be moving to the AL West in 2013.   The Ranges have owned the silver boot for the last 5 years in a row and hope to continue that trend this year.  Interleague play is only a quick pit stop as the Rangers finish off next week in Seattle to play the last place Mariners.

 

What do you think about Yu Darvish’s success early on as a Ranger? Is he the Ace? How much of an impact do you think the schedule has been on the Rangers in past few weeks?

I have started a Rangers mailbag that I will incorporate into each weeks articles, if you would like to ask a question and have it featured in the article you can email me at [email protected] or direct message me on twitter at @JustinBrumit

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Topics: Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Mitch Moreland, Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers Mailbag, Yu Darvish

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  • jbbravo

    It’s funny how the Rangers had Cliff Lee but lost him but still managed to move forward with CJ. Then lose CJ and manage to move on with Lewis pick up Darvish now they are most likely going to lose Lewis but have Darvish to take his spot. We have a awesome front office.

    • Dallas3026

       @jbbravo Maybe someone from the Rangers front office should give Jerry Jones some help!

  • RangerFan4Life

    No doubt Darvish is our Ace and he is starting off so much better than everyone thought he would.  We do have an awesome front office and great ownership to go out and get this guy.  I think he will give us great pitching for a long time as yong as he is. 

  • cjwright

    The best thing about Darvish is that he is fun to watch: so many of his strikeouts make batters look silly.  Darvish is good for Rangers baseball.  He has made a lot of people who don’t really watch much baseball a reason to start following it again.

    • jbbravo

      @cjwright I agree but I think the whole Rangers team has made people want to watch them more. Just watching the guys in the dugout laughing and joking like one big family is fun to watch. They are a great group of guys and they just happen to play real well together.

  • Jbrumit

    What is even more amazing is that at the beginning of last week Yu had three consecutive games with at least nine strikeouts. Isn’t the only other Ranger pitchers to accomplish this feat is Nolan Ryan who did this four times and Jim Bibby once? 
     

  • bks05b

    What is even more amazing is that at the beginning of last week Yu had three consecutive games with at least nine strikeouts. Isn’t the only other Ranger pitchers to accomplish this feat is Nolan Ryan who did this four times and Jim Bibby once? 
     

    • Dallas3026

       @bks05b I didn’t know that.  Interesting. Lets hope he breaks a bunch of records!

  • GhostOfRubenSierra

    Darvish has really impressed me with both his ability and his demeanor.  He never lacks for focus yet has an uncanny way of staying loose.  He seems extremely confident yet never breaks from a show of humility.  He has the desitre and nuture to fit in, yet also the initiative to lead.  These things are the qualities of an ace, yes, but I hesitate to designate him as such until he passes a few more trials and tribulations. 
     
    Let him win a game on the road, when it really matters.  Let him get beaten, as all pitchers do, and then come back and command the mound the next game.  Let him compete on the biggest stage, in the playoffs against the Yankees.  While arguments will be made for “who is our ace?”, the answer comes not from statistics or rotation order.  Cliff Lee and CJ Wilson and even Yu Darvish now may make the highlights with the 10 strikeout games and 16 win seasons, but my ace is the pitcher who battles every 5th day all season long.  Who fights through tough innings, and goes a little deeper to save a bullpen, and who more often then not picks this team up and leads them.  Yu may have his time as the Ranger’s ace, but not yet.
     
    My ace is Colby Lewis.

    • Dallas3026

       @GhostOfRubenSierra Very interesting and astute observations.

      • cjwright

         @GhostOfRubenSierra Having traveled quite a bit in Asia, I have to think that many of the qualities that you attribute to Yu are cultural, especially the being confident while remaining humble and the ability to be part of the team yet be a leader.  It is extremely interesting that characteristics and traits that are emphasized in a very foreign culture can be so useful in American baseball.

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