Ask your favorite Rangers blogger… well, ask the one you’re reading now… his impressions of Yu Darvish‘s rookie season and I’d have to say a bit of a disappointment. He has a winning record, but honestly, I expected more. In the pre-season, I was so stoked, I actually predicted a Darvish no-hitter in 2012. It hasn’t happened and I’m willing to bet it won’t happen. Most nights, Darvish has lost his no-hitter in the first inning. Tuesday night against the Rays, he lost it with the first batter. On the first pitch he threw.
By night’s end, though, it was Yu Darvish pitching one of his finest games in a Rangers uniform. For only the second time this season, Darvish threw goose eggs all night, seven innings strong. For the 8th time, he struck out ten or more batters. Coming into the game 3rd in the AL in the negative Walks category, Darvish walked only one Ray all night. He worked out of a couple of big-time jams in the early innings, but came on strong in the end, retiring 9 of the last 10 he faced. Darvish is a pitcher who gets better as he goes. A fellow blogger pointed out tonight that Darvish has a lower ERA in Innings 4-6 than he does in Innings 1-3. And he has a lower ERA after the 6th than in innings 4-6. Pretty darn impressive.
Texas only scored one run, but it was all they needed. Ian Kinsler led off the 4th with a home run over the left field fence and it held up, the Rangers first 1-0 win since June 13th against the Diamondbacks. It was also the first time the Rangers had won consecutive one-run games since they put together a string of three in a row in the last two games before and the first game after the All-Star break.
Mike Adams pitched the 8th and wasn’t as effective as Monday night, but he did strike out Evan Longoria with the tying run at 2nd and Mitch Moreland made a great stab on a hot shot down the first base line to get the last out of the inning and preserve the shutout. Joe Nathan was even nastier in the 9th than he was Monday night, getting all three Rays to strike out to end the game. The Rangers now have the edge in the season series, three games to two and have clinched the series win with the 1-0 victory. Better still, they kept the A’s from gaining any ground despite facing the weaker Indians while Texas squares off against the Rays.
This season has been a grind. The Rangers as a team, despite their record, have played very inconsistently all year. It’s been tough on me as a fan, seeing this team resemble some of the losing teams of yore even in victory. Adrian Beltre went through a major 40-game slump. Josh Hamilton was off, way off, for the entirety of June and July. Yet here we are, nearing the end of August, and the Rangers have the AL’s best record, Hamilton still leads all of baseball in RBI’s and the team is coming off two 1-run wins against a potential playoff opponent. Crunch time is getting closer. It’s about to get fun again.
ONLY 4 DAYS LEFT!!!
If you haven’t entered, there’s only 4 days left to submit your entry for a chance to win the 4-DVD set of the Essential Games of the Texas Rangers from A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions. The set contains the complete games of Nolan Ryan‘s 7th No-Hitter, the Rangers first ever playoff win against the Yankees in 1996 and the Rangers two AL Championship clinching wins in 2010 and 2011.
To enter, just submit the form below. Entry deadline is Friday 8/31/12. Winners will be drawn Tuesday 9/4/12. FIVE WINNERS IN ALL, so enter today! Only 1 entry per e-mail address please.