Despite remaining at or near the top of the American League West and American League Wild Card picture for virtually the entire season, the Texas Rangers find themselves fighting for their playoff lives. In the lead for the Wild Card, several teams are nipping at their heels, as they continue to scuffle here in the second half of the season.
Inexplicably, much of that blame has fallen on Yu Darvish. From a fan perspective, as misguided as it may be, it isn’t difficult to see where that disappointment may be coming from. Since a brilliant eight inning start back on August 12th, the Rangers’ ace has pitched Texas to only one win.
Now, that’s not on him really at all. But that hasn’t stopped the Ranger faithful from questioning whether or not Darvish has the right killer instinct to pitch this team to success in the postseason. That comes despite the fact that he’s an easy contender for the American League Cy Young Award.
In fact, if anyone should be blamed for the recent lack of W’s for Yu Darvish, it’s the Texas Rangers. Yes, Darvish had a dud of a performance back on September 4th. But outside of that, five of those six consecutive Darvish starts that the Rangers did not win were all on the offensive side of things.
In five of those six starts, Darvish pitched into the seventh inning. In four of those five starts, he completed the seventh inning. In three of those four, he allowed two earned runs or less. Even in the ones in which he allowed three earned, the Rangers were unable to come up with more than a pair of runs.
This is a guy who has quietly put up some of the best numbers of any right handed pitcher in the history of baseball. His ERA for the year is sitting at 2.81, while his xFIP is an oustanding 2.86. His strikeout numbers per nine are up almost two hitters a game, and his walk rate is down. He’s been fantastic.
If there’s anyone that should take the blame for the way the Rangers have struggled here in the second half, it certainly isn’t Darvish. Perhaps focus a little more of that on a Rangers offense that has been pretty anemic here in the final stretch. Yu Darvish has done his part.