Yu Darvish threw the most pitches in a game since mid-May, but still managed to hold the Reds scoreless through 6 2/3 innings.
Yu Darvish today was effectively wild. He tied his season high for walks (four), but his stuff was simply so dominant that the Reds simply couldn’t lay off pitches out of the zone. His slider, dominant as ever, helped him put away five of his eight strikeout victims. Also promising was his ability to limit the long-ball, giving up zero home runs. His struggles with home runs have really been the only black mark on the season. So far, he has given up 14, which is 19th in the league. If Darvish weren’t simply so dominant, his season would likely mirror Chris Tillman or Jeremy Guthrie’s rather than Darvish’s all-star caliber effort. His counterpart, Mat Latos, pitched well, giving up only two earned in 6 2/3 innings. He actually recorded one more strikeout than Darvish, but his high fastball to Nelson Cruz ended up being the difference. Cruz was down 0-2, but Latos threw him a shoulder-high fastball that Cruz his for an opposite field single that gave Texas the lead for good. The team survived a scare from Tanner Scheppers, who walked one and gave up two straight singles -while retiring no one. Sadly, his two singles were the only strikes he threw. Neal Cotts came in to save the day, inducing two sacrifice flies. Joe Nathan closed out the game with a perfect inning.
The Rangers are connected to Alex Rios. With David Murphy’s struggles and Leonys Martin’s difficulties in hitting left handed pitching, outfield could be a need for the Rangers. Bruce Levine from ESPN Chicago quoted Rios as saying:
A.J. contacted me the other day and said his team was talking about trying to get me,” Rios said. “All players want to be on a winner and in our situation it has been tough to win. I love it here in Chicago and so does my family but this is the time of year teams make these decisions. We have put ourselves in that position.
Rios has many suitors. The Diamondbacks and Giants also want Rios, but assuming Arizona doesn’t offer Tyler Skaggs or Archie Bradley (a near certainty), Texas has the most assets to offer Chicaco.
An update on foreign prospects.
Marc Hulet gave an update on the performance of Baseball America’s 2011 Top International Prospects, and the Ranger’s two chief prizes, Ronald Guzman and Nomar Mazuna. Guzman has swung the bat well but struggled with plate discipline, not an uncommon trait with players from the Dominican Republic. Mazuna is now in A ball, but has struck out at a rate of more than one per game.