Mar 202012
 

We’re excited to announce that Patty Shack Burgers is becoming an official sponsor of the Baseball Do Texas Rangers Blog & Podcast.  Kyle from Patty Shack, Jasen & myself are thrilled about the partnership and looking forward to some really fun events throughout the baseball season!

Patty Shack Burgers is truly NOT your ordinary burger, and if you haven’t been there yet, you’re missing out!

Conveniently located near the Rangers Ballpark, Patty Shack is the ultimate location for grabbing a burger and beer before heading to the park to watch some Rangers baseball.

Not going to the game?  No problem, Patty Shack’s atmosphere is perfect for watching the game with fellow Rangers fans while enjoying some tasty food and thirst quenching beverages!

Click on the ad below to visit their website for location, menu and contact information!

Patty Shack Burgers partners with Baseball Do

We are already planning our first event, which will consist of a ticket to a Rangers game, a meal a Patty Shack and some Baseball Do gear, so stay tuned as we plan to announce specific details in the coming days!  This will be a limited opportunity, so be sure to follow us on Twitter & Facebook so you don’t miss out!

For those that haven’t been there, here are some pics from inside Patty Shack that I snapped earlier today.  Believe me, the pictures don’t do it justice – awesome atmosphere!

Patty Shack Burgers partners with Baseball DoPatty Shack Burgers partners with Baseball Do

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Mar 202012
 

Yu Darvish flashes improved command in third start

For the third installment of Yu Darvish Theater Yu got to do his thing at his “home” ballpark in Surprise, Arizona. The Yu also gave us a glance at his windup.

It looked wonderful!

Plus, it was a welcome sight since starters usually only throw from the stretch when runners are on base, and (God willing) Darvish will occasionally pitch with no one on.

As has been true in every one of his starts thus far, Darvish has flashed the brilliance that comes with a free agent signing of his caliber. He threw 70 pitches, with first-pitch strikes to eight of the sixteen Brewers he faced.

Overall, Darvish had much better command than he had shown in his previous start against the Indians last week. Impressively, Darvish’s slider—once again—showed excellent bite and movement and he commanded it well.

Here’s a breakdown of his start from inning to fantastic inning.

First Inning

The Brewers were retired 1-2-3. This is of special note since it was Rickie Weeks, Nyjer Morgan, and reigning NL MVP—and testosterone aficionado—Ryan Braun that Darvish dispatched of.

Darvish punched out Weeks with his infamous slider, retired Morgan on a groundball and induced Braun to pop out weekly to second basemen Ian Kinsler.

“Tony Plush”—Morgan’s alter ego, created solely for the purpose of PR/interviews when he does/says something incredibly stupid—had no comment.  But I’m sure that Morgan still managed to do or say something stupid at some point.

Second Inning

Travis Ishikawa worked a six-pitch walk to lead things off for the Brew Crew. Darvish used his “slower” slider—that works like a slurve—to get Alex Gonzalez to fly out to centerfield for the first out of the second.

Darvish then struck out backup catcher Kottaras with a nasty slider and quickly had two outs in the frame.

Yu labored a little to get the third out.

On a 2-1 count, Darvish lost the handle on a slider and hit Jonathan Lucroy to put two men on base. Former Japanese League counterpart Norichika Aoki—who would go 3-3 with 3 RBI for the game—managed an RBI single to cut the Rangers lead in half to 2-1.

Darvish recovered well and struck out Cesar Izturis on three pitches to end the inning and the Brewers threat.

Third Inning

The third inning was eerily similar to the first inning for Darvish. He retired the same batters—Weeks, Morgan and Braun—in the same manner…strikeout, groundout and fly out.

Fourth Inning

The Rangers scratched out another run in the bottom of the third, thus Darvish once again had a two-run lead with which to work.

Yu walked leadoff man Travis Ishikawa. Darvish retired A. Gonzalez on a groundout and then walked George Kottaras.

Lucroy—who Darvish had plucked in the second inning—came up with a robust spring batting average near .500. But, as has been his modus operandi all spring, Darvish was able to get the one key pitch when he needed it most—this time it was a cutter that Lucroy rolled over to start a 5-4-3 twin killing that successfully ended Darvish’s final inning of work.

All in all, it was a solid outing for Darvish. His line looked like this:

4 IP, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 4 GOs, 4 FOs, 2 DPs, 1 ER 1 Hit

Sure, we’d all like to see Darvish walk fewer batters. This is when it is time for the obligatory reminder that, hey, this is just spring training. Dude! Relax, you’re killing my buzz! Spring is the time when pitchers (even highly-touted Japanese ones named Yu Darvish) amp up their velocity and improve things such as command, location, etc.

Bottom Line:

Darvish had the most strikeouts (4), the fewest hits allowed (1) of the spring. And he accomplished these fine things while pitching from the windup…after his worst start as a Ranger…

Works for me.

Yu Darvish Theater will be on hiatus for this weekend’s series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that, frankly, the Angels don’t deserve to witness the greatness of the Yu just yet. That, and the fact that Darvish doesn’t want C.J. Wilson to tweet his cell phone number to everyone in America.

Thirsting for more Yu Darvish

? Yu Darvish flashes improved command in third startBaseball Do has plenty to get your Yu-mania juices flowing. Follow Timothy on Twitter for all of the latest on the Texas Rangers.

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Mar 202012
 
Tuesday Morning SlidersYu Darvish pitched 4 innings in the Rangers 5 – 3 loss to the Brewers yesterday.  The Rangers were in control of the game when Darvish left, with a 3-1 lead, but Joe Nathan surrendered the lead in the 6th inning.
  • Darvish allowed a run on 1 hit in 4 innings of working, striking out 3 and walking 3.  He also threw a wild pitch and hit a batter, so harnessing the control is still a work in progress which is perfectly fine for  Spring Training.
  • This was his first Spring Training game in which Yu pitched from the wind-up.
  • Darvish on the outing and his delivery, ”The way my body is working, my delivery, I can’t really repeat it all the time right now.  The consistency is not there. That’s why you see some good pitches and some bad ones. And I don’t expect it to be perfect right now anyway. Those are some things I’m going to continue to plan on polishing as we go on.”
  • Darvish on NL MVP Ryan Braun, ”He’s a tremendous hitter, has a tremendous swing.  I’m still new here and I don’t think it’s proper for me to evaluate him yet, but he’s a very good hitter.”
  • Pitching Coach Mike Maddux on Darvish, ”He progressed the way he wanted to today.  We worked two times and skipped a live BP to get more mound time. I was happy with his outing. He commanded the fastball and threw some good breaking balls.”
  • Closer Joe Nathan came on in the 6th and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits – should you panic?  No, but should you watch Nathan closely once the regular season gets underway?  Yes.
  • SS Elvis Andrus went 3-4 with a sweet bunt single in the 1st inning.  Both Elvis and Ian are really producing in Spring Training.  Hopefully, they can carry that momentum into the regular season.
  • Prospect Tanner Scheppers got through only 2/3 of an inning, giving up a hit and two walks.

Quick hits:

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersThe Rangers and Derek Holland are on the verge of reaching a 5 year agreement.  No details are known at this time, so stay tuned throughout the week to find out the future of the Dutch Oven.
  • Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com) wrote “A New Start for Feliz; in more ways than one”, which rehashes Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, but also provides a closer look into the mindset of Feliz.  I’m really pulling for Neftali to experience some success in 2012.  His stuff is great, and I think he has the make-up to be a great starting pitcher in this league for a long time.
  • The Rangers optioned 7 pitchers to the minors yeterday:
  1. Neil Ramirez (Triple-A Round Rock)
  2. Miguel De Los Santos (Double-A Frisco)
  3. Jake Brigham (Double-A Frisco)
  4. Justin Miller (Triple-A Round Rock)
  5. Cody Eppley (Triple-A Round Rock)
  6. Roman Mendez (High-A Myrtle Beach)
  7. Martin Perez (Triple-A Round Rock)
  • Yu Darvish will not face the Angels this coming weekend when the Rangers square off with their nemesis in Spring Training, instead he’ll pitch in an intra-squad game.  I like the strategy.  No point in giving the Angels batters an opportunity to see Darvish live from the batter’s box before it really counts.
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersMike Napoli is not pleased with C.J. Wilson’s attempt at a Twitter prank, and neither are we.  Jasen and I sounded off on this last night, when we attempted to record the weekly podcast only to find out that the file was corrupted and it was all for not.  Regardless, just know that we think this was a crappy thing for C.J. to do, and if we knew Kung Fu, we’d probably use it on him…
  • Josh Hamilton on potential of free agency after the 2012 season, ”Free agency is free agency.  If they sign me now, it’d probably cost less. If they sign me there (free agency), it’d cost more. So we’ll see.  Obviously, I told the Rangers that they get first shot, and I mean that. I have loyalty to the Rangers. They’ve been good to me and my family, and it’s been a good relationship.”
  • Does this make up for the “I don’t owe the Rangers anything” comment?  That’s for you to decide.  For me, I think Josh is over-correcting and probably just needs to let it go.
  • The Rangers meet up with the Cubs today in a split squad match-up in Mesa, AZ at 3:05.  Neftali Feliz will take the ball for the Rangers against Ryan Dempster.
  • Michael Young has now hit in eight consecutive Spring Training games, so watch to see if he can extend that today.
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Mar 192012
 

Monday Morning Fastballs   Darvish Day III & St. Patricks Day Ticket WinnersThe Rangers fell to the Cubs yesterday in a split-squad Spring Training game, but the real story was the performance of Matt Harrison, who in five innings allowed one hit and one run with a walk and five strikeouts.

  • Harrison on the outing, ”So far, so good.  Hopefully, I can keep doing the same thing: pounding the strike zone and making quality pitches. I want to make them swing the bats because good stuff happens when they do that.”
  • Manager Ron Washington on the effectiveness of Harrison’s changeup, ”I’ve always thought that was his second-best pitch.  He worked on it the second half of last season, and he came into spring training, and he’s continued to work on it and it’s gotten better.”
  • Two of Harrison’s strikeouts came on changeups, which is an encouraging sign from the young starter.
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor discusses how the Rangers rotation is starting to take shape.
  • Ron Washington said a few weeks ago that he was going to split Harrison and Holland up in the rotation, which makes perfect sense.  To me, I’ve though the debate was whether they would fall in the second and fourth spots of the rotation or the third and fifth, with Darvish and Feliz taking the other two spots.  After the strong performances from Holland this Spring, I think it’s clear the order looks like this:
  1. Colby Lewis
  2. Derek Holland
  3. Yu Darvish
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Neftali Feliz
  • Washington on Holland and Harrison expectations, “I don’t want them having 18 or 20 wins on their mind.  If they set out to do what they did last year, they’ll surpass it without even trying. If they repeat the number of wins they had last year, that’s good enough for me – anything else is failure. I don’t want them going backward.”

Quick hits:

  • C.J. Wilson is an idiot.
  • The Rangers have partnered with the Japanese social media company gloops.  The partnership will include a gloops exclusive Japanese backdrop during press conferences, a fixed sign behind home plate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and signs around Surprise Stadium for the rest of spring training.
  • Monday Morning Fastballs   Darvish Day III & St. Patricks Day Ticket WinnersDavid Murphy and Brad Hawpe each went yard in the other split-squad game yesterday, before the game was called short in the 4th inning due to rain.
  • Torrealba was removed from the line-up due to stiffness in his back.  He did get some batting practice in, so it looks like his removal was precautionary.
  • Craig Gentry returned yesterday from his wrist injury that he sustained last week.  He went 0 for 2.
  • Prospect Robbie Ross, who is fighting for the bullpen role, started the game against the Brewers yesterday and didn’t fare well, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits across 2 1/3 innings.
  • Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins on Ross’ outing,  ”He was aggressive, went right after these guys.  He just didn’t have the command that he had earlier in camp. I liked his approach and liked his attitude. He has a good head on his shoulders.  He recognized those guys at the plate today, but he didn’t back off from them. He came right at them. I didn’t see any intimidation, and I didn’t see any fear. He just didn’t quite have the command, or otherwise he would have had a pretty good time out there.”
  • Good article from T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) on Johan Yan, who the Rangers are hoping to convert from a poor hitting fielder to a strong armed relief pitcher, just as they did Alexi Ogando.  Another current Ranger who made a similar conversion was Joe Nathan, who was originally drafted as a shortstop by the Giants.

Darvish Day III:

  • Yu Darvish will be on the mound and Mike Napoli will be catching today when the Rangers play the Brewers.  The game will be live on MLB.TV, at 3:05 p.m.  Darvish is making his third start and will be looking to throw 60 pitches across four innings.  Napoli, who has been dealing with a strained groin muscle, will be back behind the plate for the first time since March 8.
  • Monday Morning Fastballs   Darvish Day III & St. Patricks Day Ticket WinnersDarvish reportedly generated more than $250 million of advertising revenue in January alone.
  • Pitching coach Mike Maddux on Darvish (from Ben & Skin, 103.3FM ESPN), “So far we’ve got five innings to go on. In those five innings, we had some ups, and we had some downs. We had more ups especially the ball being up and down. It’s just something we need to continue to grind at. We’re going to work today and really get that ball going down. He showed us some good breaking stuff, and that’s kind of bailed him out since his fastball command has been erratic. He’s a confident young man. He only knows success. You look at his track record in the Japanese league, and he was dominating. His expectations are to go out there and dominate, but it’s a little different game over here. There is a more concentration of talent so he has to grind it out, and I think he’s learning that.”
  • Maddux on overcoming the language barrier with Yu, “It’s somewhere between broken English, broken Spanish and broken Japanese. Some how, we got it all on the same page. The good news with baseball is that it’s an international language. Whether you’re in Tokyo or Arlington, Texas, it’s fastball, curveball, cutter, slider, change. It’s a strike and a ball. Some of the phrases are universal. There are some phrases that everybody knows whether they be in English or in Japanese or in Spanish. You kind of use those bullet phrases, and we all get on the same page. We’re able to get the communication bridged. When we come to the dugout, we really start getting the communication bridged when we employ the translators.”
  • Darvish’s younger brother, Sho Darvish, was sentenced to a one-year prison term for assaulting a female friend. According to the Japan Times, Sho repeatedly slapped the woman in the face and tried to choke her. The attack reportedly resulted from Sho’s anger over her association with some of her friends.

St. Patrick’s Day Rangers Tickets Giveaway Winner

  • Thanks to all those that participated!  The winner of the tickets is rauch5s.  We’ll get in touch with the winner and get the tickets out in the mail this week.  Stay tuned for more giveaways throughout the season!
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Mar 172012
 

St. Patricks Day Ticket GiveawayBeing that Jasen and I are both full-blooded Irish (from the pant’s down if you know what I mean), we are in the giving mood on this fine (overcast) St. Patrick’s Day!

With that being said, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see the Rangers host the Mariners on Wednesday, April 11th at the Ballpark!

To be eligible, all you have to do is comment here with your favorite thing to do on St. Patrick’s Day.  We’ll accept entries through tomorrow night and announce the winners on the Monday Morning Fastball’s!

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Mar 162012
 

Friday Morning KnuckleballsGood Morning Rangers Fans, we are one work day away from the weekend. Start your day off with some customized Rangers news from your old friends Baseballdo.

Read a great article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram on Mike Maddux and what he sees out of his pitchers so far in spring training including the surprising breakout of Robbie Ross.

  • “Robbie went out there and threw a good inning, then threw another good inning and another good inning,” Maddux said. “We were like, ‘That’s pretty good.’ But we’ve got to remember now that we do want to stretch him out.”
  • Check out the rest of the article here including some quotes about Yu Darvish and Mike Adams.

Over on the ESPN Dallas blog there is a blurb about Robin Ventura’s thoughts on the Nolan Ryan fight not being shown on the jumbotron anymore. I’ll give you the meat of his thoughts

  • “I don’t care,” Ventura said. “It’s not like I haven’t seen it.”

My favorite part of this story is the Paul Konerko recollection as he was a 17-year-old playing for the U.S. Junior National team. He actually drove to Arlington and was in the house for that particular game.

  • “The story you hear is that the Rangers had hit some of the White Sox guys, and Robin stood up in the clubhouse and said, ‘If this guy hits me. I’m going out there. Be ready.’ That’s a pretty gutsy thing to say with Nolan Ryan. Sure enough, Robin got hit, and there he went,” Paul Konerkosays.”Two hours later, it was a riot,” Konerko says. “People were chanting ‘Nolan! Nolan!’ for about five innings. It was awesome.”

Great stuff, read the rest of the story here.

The Rangers played the Oakland Billy Beanes yesterday and lost another spring training game 11-7. Game notes:

  • Two of the Rangers top prospects struggles pitching yesterday. Martin Perez gave up a home run to start the game and then 4 of the next 5 got on base. He actually did a good job of limiting the damage by only giving up one run in the 1st and one in the second. Seeing young pitchers struggle in spring training isn’t a big surprise and shouldn’t be looked at as an indication of talent.
  • Neil Ramirez also struggled giving up four runs on five hits and after the game he felt like he was up in the zone the entire game.
  • It was nice to see some of the guys that will be playing opening day make an impact. Ian Kinsler went 2 for 3 with a home run and Nelson Cruz had a bases loaded double. I can’t wait to see that in April.

The Rangers will be in Las Vegas this weekend playing the Cubs. I wonder if they will go out at all…

 

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Mar 152012
 

A Lighter Look at The Five Biggest Games of 2012Spring Training is really starting to heat up  the excitement of opening day is getting closer and closer. I wanted to use this opportunity to make some predictions for the five biggest games of the season.

Game 1 - Chicago White Sox at (YOUR) Texas Rangers April 6th, 2012

After “the games that shall not be named” the ballpark will be in a frenzy trying to forget what happened last year.  Colby Lewis will be itching to prove who has better facial hair vs John “I’m better than Diamond and Volquez combined” Danks.  Before the game while watching the intro video Nolan Ryan will get so fired up he will run over to the White Sox dugout, put new Chicago manager Robin Ventura in a headlock, and give him old man noogies. They will shake hands afterwards and the Rangers win 8-5. Colby will give up 5 solo home runs.

Game 2 Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers April 20th, 2012

Just for fun we are going to call this game a matchup of Neftali Feliz and Justin Verlander. The buildup to this game will be incredible and the Rangers will be riding high on a 13 game winning streak to start the season. It will be a pitchers duel until the 7th inning when Mitch Moreland hits a line drive off of Prince Fielders stomach which turns into an inside the park home run as Prince lies on the ground giggling. As Moreland rounds first he will stare at Prince and say “First Base is mine homey” The city of Detroit loses again. Rangers 1-0

Game 3 Anaheim Angels at Texas Rangers May 11th, 2012

This will be the first meeting of the year for the Rangers and Angels and will be quite the spectacle. Jared Weaver will be opposing Derek Holland in a match up of complete opposite personalities. Jared Weaver will give up a 5th inning grand slam to Mike Napoli and as Nap rounds the bases he will high-five Mike Soscia for giving him the opportunity to play for a winner. Weaver will go into the dugout and intimidate the bat boy to make himself feel better. Dutch will throw a gem and after the game do stand-up outside of the stadium. Rangers win 5-2.

Game 4 Texas Rangers at New York Yankees August 13th 2012

The Rangers will throw Matt Harrison out against CC Sabathia in this pivotal August game. This will be one of the few times that Matt will crumble under the pressure of Yankee Stadium. He will give up 4 runs in the first inning when A-Rod hits another meaningless regular season home run in preparation for disappearing in the playoffs. The Rangers will make a furious comeback when someone tricks Josh Hamilton into believing this is the home run derby and he will hit 5 home runs in 4 at bats (do the math).  Rangers win 14-5

Game 5 Anaheim Angels at Texas Rangers September 30th

Last game against the Angels of the year. Incredible build up as Yu Darvish pitches against CJ Wilson with a trip to the playoffs on the line. This will be a pitchers duel through the first three innings as Yu blows away every hitter he sees. In the middle of the 4th innings CJ will realize that he is missing his fencing class and will walk off the mound mid inning. Yu will pitch all nine innings and get the win propelling the Rangers into the playoffs and toward their first World Series title ever.

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Mar 152012
 

Rockies beat the Rangers 6-1 yesterday, as Neftali Feliz got his second start of Spring Training under his belt.  Of bigger concern was the injury to Josh Hamilton’s heel that occurred in the second inning.

  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsFeliz struck out 3 over 3 innings, giving up 1 run off of 4 hits and a walk (47 pitches, 32 for strikes).  More importantly, Neftali was able to get himself out of two jams with inning-ending double plays which lessened the damage and showed that the closer-turned-starter was able to buckle down in crunch time.
  • Ron Washington on the start, ”He pitched well.  He went out there once again and used the whole strike zone and used all his pitches.”
  • T.R. Sullivan elaborates further on the start and provides some video here.
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor (ESPNDallas) provided his take on Feliz here.
  • Hamilton’s injury is not considered serious.  He left the game for precautionary purposes after jamming his heel while chasing down a Todd Helton double.
  • Wash on Hamilton, ”He just said his heel felt sore so we removed him.  We’ll just see how he is tomorrow. If they feel he’s fine, he’ll be back out there. If they feel he needs another day, we’ll give him another day.”
  • Ian Kinsler returned to the Rangers line-up Wednesday after missing three days with stiffness in his back.  He looked good in the game, going 2 for 3.
  • Mike Napoli was still out of the line-up as he nurses his groin.  That’s 5 straight games now that Nap has missed, and the Rangers aren’t really saying anything as to when he will return.  Precaution is key, but it seems the problem is lingering a little longer than they thought.

Quick hits:

  • Craig Gentry sprained his wrist in the Yu Darvish start (remember the diving attempt…).  He’s expected to miss 3-5 days, and had this to say regarding the situation, ”It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the game.  When it happens you try to move on, but it’s frustrating not getting at-bats or being able to finish a nine-inning game.”
  • Martin Perez will get his second Spring Training start today at 3:05 against the Swingin’ A’s.  Neil Ramirez, another highly touted Rangers pitching prospect, will also pitch in today’s game.  You can listen to the game on TexasRangers.com.
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsJean-Jacques Taylor (ESPNDallas) wrote a piece on Julio Borbon and his plight to be the full-time CF.  According to Taylor, Ron Washington and others are high on Borbon’s performance so far this spring, and the feeling is that he has surpassed Craig Gentry in the competition for the role.
  • Borbon on his approach this spring, “I’m finally playing my game the way I want to play.  I’m not trying to do what I think the Rangers want me to do.  I’m not trying to impress anybody or overdo anything. Sometimes, you work yourself to exhaustion trying to do everything you can – and then you can’t perform.”
  • Washington on Borbon, “When we showed up to spring training he was ready to play ball because he’d been playing all off-season. He started well and he hasn’t let up.”
  • Ron Washington isn’t going to bail on Joe Nathan after one bad outing in Spring Training, saying ”Once again we’re in spring training.  He has to develop his arm strength. He has to get a feel of what he’s trying to do.”
  • If you missed Wash on with Ben & Skin (103.3FM, ESPN), you can read some details from the interview here.
  • Drew Davidson (Star-Telegram) wrote a piece on hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and the praise he is getting from the players.
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Mar 142012
 

Wednesday Morning CurveballsGood Morning Ranger Fans, today is one day closer to Opening Day.  So we have that going for us…which is nice.

Some very interesting articles on the Rangers floating around out there so let me recap.

“We’re going to keep running the bases, but I want them to be more careful late in the game,” Washington said. “You can still be aggressive, but after the sixth inning you have to be 100 percent sure you can make it.

“Otherwise, you’re taking the bat out of the hands of Hamilton. Or Beltre. Or Young. Or Cruz. Or Napoli. Early in the game, we can live with it. Late in the game we can’t because we don’t want pitchers to be able to run from our guys.”

I think the Rangers are at their absolute best when they are aggressive on the basepads. The key is not to take away run opportunities from the big guns.

  • The Rangers reached an agreement with the Tom Hicks owned Ballpark Real Estate for BPiA parking lot rental. Last year the Rangers actually sued them because they were overcharging for rent. Shocking that Tom Hicks is trying to screw the Rangers like he did his entire tenure as owner. Still bitter. Nonetheless they are locked up for the next two years.

Yu Darvish started the Rangers Spring Training game yesterday against the Indians. Instead of breaking it down, go read Baseballdo’s own Tim Howell who broke down the entire start here.

I found the Indians quotes about impressions of Yu Darvish interesting. These are from www.therepublic.com.

  • “He has very good stuff,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “But he’s just getting in shape, so it’s not really fair to judge him.”

  • “I only saw him for six pitches, one at-bat,” said Jack Hannahan, who doubled off Darvish in the second inning. “I don’t care how hard you throw, if your fastball is straight, it’s going to get hit.”

  • “He’s got good life on his fastball, and he looked comfortable out there,” Kipnis said. “It doesn’t seem like he’s bothered by any situation.”

  • “I had two at-bats against him and struck out,” Choo said. “But I’m not going to hit a 95 mile-an-hour fastball in February.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to see players get sick of being asked about Darvish very quickly.

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Mar 132012
 
Texas Rangers Yu Darvish struggles with command

Yu Darvish, much like his mustache in this picture, struggled. It was his second spring training start.

The Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish was an astounding 49-0 when his Nippon Ham Fighters provided him a four run lead.

This afternoon, at Goodyear Ballpark, the spring training home of the Cleveland Indians, Darvish’s offense handed him four and then some.

It was 7-0 Rangers when Yu Darvish began his third inning of work—the first time in his big league career he’d pitched past the second inning.

Here’s an inning-by-inning recap of Darvish’s second major league start:

First Inning

Darvish—once again pitching exclusively from the stretch—struggled with his command from the get-go.  He walked Indians leadoff hitter Michael Brantley on six pitches, and issued another free pass to Asdrubal Cabrera on five pitches.

The very dangerous Shin-Soo Choo was up next.

Yet rather than face Choo with two on and nobody out, Darvish was able to battle the South Korean slugger with no one on and two out.  Rangers’ catcher Yorvit Torrealba was able to flash his strong-arm as he gunned down both Brantley and Cabrera as they attempted to steal second base.

Darvish started off Choo with a strike—the first batter he’d started off ahead of—before striking him out on a 3-2 pitch to end the first.

Second Inning

Darvish, now pitching with a 1-0 lead, was much sharper in the second inning.

He went after Travis Hafner and had him down 1-2 immediately.  Darvish then induced a lazy pop-out on the next pitch.

Jose Lopez was down 0-2 before he managed a weak, broken-bat single up the middle on the third pitch of the at bat.

Jason Kipnis was up with one out and the tying runner at first base.  Darvish needed only four pitches to retire Kipnis on a strikeout.

Fred Lewis was up next with two outs and a runner on.  Just as he had with Kipnis, Darvish notched a strikeout of Lewis on just four pitches.  The strikeout was Darvish’s third, and it didn’t seem as though it would be his last.

The Texas Rangers’ six-run third inning was highlighted by Yangervis Solarte’s two-run home run, and provided Darvish with a cozy 7-0 lead.

Third Inning

Leading off, Jack Hanrahan worked a 2-2 count and put a good swing on a Darvish fastball that got too much of the plate.  Rangers’ center fielder, Craig Gentry, darted towards the well-hit liner and misjudged it at the last moment and it ricocheted off of his glove at the last moment.

This is when the wheels on the fine-tuned Yu Darvish machine began to wobble.

Darvish’s next seven pitches all missed the strike zone.

He walked both Lou Marsen and Michael Brantley to load the bases for Asdrubal Cabrera with nobody out.

On a 2-2 count, Cabrera drove in the Tribe’s first run with a single through the right side of the infield.

Even with a 7-1 Rangers lead, Darvish was very much in trouble, as he had no outs and the bases jammed.

Shin-Soo Choo helped Darvish out by swinging on a 2-1 pitch that resulted in a 4-6-3 double play.  The groundout forced in the Tribe’s second run and the Rangers lead was cut to 7-2.

Travis Hafner, the sixth batter that Darvish had faced in the inning, lined out to center fielder Engel Beltre to end the threat and Darvish’s second big league start.

Overall performance of Yu Darivsh (1-5 scale): 2.5

 Line: 3 IP 3 H 2 ER 4 BB 3 K’s

Darvish relied on his defense to bail him out of a shaky first inning.  He had a solid second frame, but featured below-average command in his third and final inning of work.

Darvish’s third inning was similar to his first frame.  The first inning was a “best case” scenario (aided by Torrealba) and the third inning wasn’t quite “worst case” but it was certainly poor, based on what we saw of Darvish in his first outing last week.

Had it not been for Torrealba’s arm, Darvish could have easily been knocked around soundly in the first inning.

The type of baseball fans that were ready to anoint Yu Darvish the next coming of Cy Young after last week’s start are the exact type of fans that will label him as a bust on course to be the next Kei Igawa, after today’s outing.

Neither assessment is correct.

The Yu Darvish we saw in the second inning this afternoon in Goodyear, Arizona, is far more indicative of the “normal” Yu.  Sometimes getting roughed up is the best thing that can happen to a young pitcher in his first big league spring training.

It will be interesting to see how Darvish recovers in his next spring start.

I’m willing to bet he’ll be just fine.

Thirsting for more Yu Darvish? Texas Rangers Yu Darvish struggles with commandBaseball Do has got plenty to get your Yu-mania juices flowing. Follow Timothy on Twitter for all of the latest on the Texas Rangers.  

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