Apr 252012

Wednesday Morning Curveballs“Awesome,” manager Ron Washington said.

“Very impressive,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

David Murphy said, “Tonight was about as good as you could do.”

8 1/3 IP, 0 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, with 10 strikeouts…against the Yankees.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsThis was a major step.  Yu has improved each time he has taken the mound for the Rangers this season, and last night was no different as he dazzled the Ranger faithful (sellout crowd of 47k+) and fooled Yankee hitters…and for the first time, truly lived up to the hype.

Darvish attacked the strike zone with a multitude of pitches often times putting the patient Yankee hitters behind in the count early.  His command of all of his pitches was outstanding and his control kept the Yanks off balance all night.

“We had a game plan to make him throw strikes,” said Mark Teixeira.  ”He definitely did that. If you tried to be patient, you’re down 0-1, 0-2. If you tried to be aggressive, every pitch seemed like it started around the zone and moved out of the zone.”

“We all ask each other, ‘What was that pitch?”, said Yankee cather Russell Martin (a Ray Liotta doppelganger) ‘ ‘How is his ball moving?’ ‘What is his fastball doing?’ When guys are executing pitches and not really giving you anything to drive, there’s not much you can do.”

Wednesday Morning CurveballsYu wasn’t perfect, but like so many big game pitchers with that undefinable intangible, he was able to get out of jams and keep the opposing team’s offense off the board completely.  This was on showcase in the 3rd inning, when the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs, and Darvish was able to strike out the dangerous Curtis Granderson and get A-Rod to ground into a double play.

“I had to get Granderson out,” Darvish said in a post game interview. “In that situation, I wanted to give up only one or two runs. That would have been OK.”

Two amazing stats:

  • Opponents are 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position against Darvish in his last three starts.
  • Per Jamey Newberg, since his first inning as a big leaguer, Yu has a 1.08 ERA.
ESPN’s stats guys summed up how Darvish baffled the Yanks with 7 bullets.  Pretty interesting…

The fever is setting in…

Joe Nathan came in and closed the door in the ninth, getting a 1 pitch save (266th of his career) when Raul Ibanez hit the first pitch he saw into a double play to end the game and secure the “W” for Darvish.

“You’re always thinking in those situations to try to get a ground ball,” Nathan said. “Really, just make a pitch and hopefully keep it on the ground. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Obviously I’m not thinking, let’s get one on the first pitch. I’m just trying to make a pitch and hopefully get a ground ball.”

Quick hits:

  • Beltre was back in the lineup last night after missing three-plus games with a strained left hamstring.  He was held hitless, but was able to turn the key double play in the third inning.
  • Per T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Elvis Andrus went into Tuesday’s game without having made an error in his last 49 games at shortstop, dating back to last season. That’s the longest streak by a Rangers shortstop in club history. Michael Young held the previous mark with 43 straight back in 2008.
  • Wash received the C.I. Taylor Legacy Award (Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s Manager of the Year Award) before yesterday’s game.

“It means a ton to me because the award is from a guy who was versatile like I was — manager, player coach,” Washington said. “He made a difference in many people’s lives. That’s what you’re in this game for, to be able to make a difference.”

  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsScooter Feldman takes the mound tonight in the rubber match against the Yankees.  Feldman getting the spot start to provide a little extra rest to the rotation and remain stretched out if his presence in the rotation was needed on a more permanent basis at any point during the season – a luxury.  The Rangers bats will try to beat up on Phil Hughes (1-2, 6.75 ERA)
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