Yu Darvish will not tell you if he is frustrated about this. I know, because I asked him: “This isn’t the first time you’ve pitched well against the A’s and the offense didn’t score. Is that frustrating?”
“I have 100% respect for my position players,” he answered through an interpreter. “Sometimes we don’t pitch well and they’re hitting and scoring a lot of runs, and we don’t pitch well; it’s vice versa. So I just have 100% respect for the position players. I just try to go out there and do my job.”
Coming into tonight, Darvish had 17 career starts where he allowed precisely 1 run. What would you guess the Rangers’ record is in those games? I’ll spare you the research: it’s 10-7.
After tonight, that total is 10-8. That’s baffling.
I’m not in the business of putting words in the mouths of players, so I won’t imbue Darvish’s words with more meaning than he gave them. Instead, let’s pose it as a question: would that frustrate you?
Darvish threw six innings, striking out five. He also walked three, only the last of which is important, because it was to Matt Joyce to lead off the sixth inning, and it was followed by a Ryon Healy double. With runners at second and third and no outs, the infield came in, and for a moment, it worked: Khris Davis hit a ground ball 63 miles per hour, but because it was aimed right at a drawn-in Mike Napoli, Joyce wasn’t able to score.
One out, crisis still in play.
Stephen Vogt hit a ground ball 62 miles per hour, but because it was aimed right at the second baseman instead of the first baseman, the score was now 1-0 Oakland.
By this point in the game, by the way, Texas still didn’t have a hit. Kendall Graveman was employing his new favorite weapon: throw a bunch of sinkers and wait until someone hits it.
No one did, for quite some time. In fact, by the time Mike Napoli’s home run sailed into the visitor’s bullpen, it was the 7th inning, and Napoli was atoning for a throwing error he had committed in the top half of the inning to make it 2-1. Tony Barnette was relieving Darvish by then, of course. Another one-run outing. Another loss, as the score would eventually swell to 5-1 in the 8th inning when Nomar Mazara overran a fly ball that would have been the third out, but was instead ruled an RBI double. The next batter was Yonder Alonso, who hit a Dario Alvarez pitch over the wall.
Mike Hauschild made his MLB debut, and while he did give up a run to make it 6-1, he also ended his inning of work by striking out Khris Davis, which isn’t nothing.
The Rangers are 1-4 on the season now, and they wrap up their series with the A’s tomorrow afternoon. Martin Perez takes the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Sean Manaea.