On Friday night, the Texas Rangers were gunning for their fourth straight win. It seemed that everything was working in their favor for this to happen. Not only did they have their ace Yu Darvish on the mound, but their opponent, the Minnesota Twins, was in the midst of a five-game losing streak themselves.
Despite Darvish taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, the Rangers still found themselves on the wrong side of a 3-2 score. In the loss, Darvish struck out 11 batters, giving him 236 for the season. The 236 is the second only to Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts in a season by a Rangers pitcher.
Despite his incredible strikeout numbers and his 2.73 ERA, Darvish hasn’t come through in the clutch like you would hope a no. 1 pitcher should. For instance, on Friday night, with the Rangers up 2-0 in the seventh inning, Darvish allowed back-to-back home runs and gave up three runs in the inning.
It’s this type of pitching performance that has fans asking about Darvish in regards to being an ace on a pitching staff.
In his last three starts, the Rangers have lost all three games. One could argue about the run support given to Darvish by the Texas offense. In those three games, he allowed three runs, two runs, and three runs respectively. However, it’s not the runs given up as much as it is the timing of the runs given up. Many times this year, Darvish has been given a lead in the game and has failed to execute the shutdown inning afterwards. This isn’t behavior of a no. 1 pitcher.
Fans have the right to be concerned about this going into the playoffs. Every time he steps on the mound, he gives his team a legitimate chance at winning the ball game. However, in the playoffs, many games are won by a low score.
This means Darvish will have to find a way to win a ball game even though his team only scores a couple of runs for him. If he can do this, the Rangers will be okay. If he can’t do it, fans should start worrying now.