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.
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.
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.
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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