May 272012
 

Yu Darvish and Texas Rangers Seek Sweep of Struggling Blue BirdsThe Texas Rangers (29-18) have already locked-in the series win over the Toronto Blue Jays (24-23) regardless of this afternoon’s outcome.

The previous two games have already cured much of what has ailed Rangers Nation. You’ve got the dominant start from Derek Holland, a day of domination from Nelson Cruz, and a Hami homer of normal proportion.

Then, of course, the walk-off Hami homer; the type best told over a roaring campfire; a 400-foot cautionary tale to any pitcher who dares throw a strike in Hamilton’s legendary wheelhouse.

Then, the back-to-back-to-back long ball attack from the 7-8-9 hole hitters. And, lastly, a collective Rangers offensive assault that has averaged 11.5 runs per game in thus far in the Jays series, when it had averaged less than 4 runs per game the prior 10!

How could things get any better?

A sweep.

What could be better than sending the “oots” back north of the border with the wrong end of a broom crammed in their blue bird bootays?

And who better to complete the task than Yu Darvish…

Yu Darivsh (6-2, 3.05 ERA 1.41 WHIP, 10.1 K/9

This will be the second time Darvish has faced the Blue Jays.

He was outstanding against the Jays last month in Toronto as he pitched 7 innings, striking out 9 while surrendering just four hits around two walks. The Rangers won 4-1.

Darvish’s last start was the worst of his major league career. In his second tour of duty against the lowly Mariners, he lasted just 4 innings, while walking 6 to see his ERA swell from 2.60 to 3.05.

Darvish’s electric was stuff was there, his fastball command was not.

In his initial start against the Jays, only Edward Encarnacion managed more than one hit off of him. Encarnacion was 2-for-2 with a solo home run. Colby Rasmus and Eric Thames were both 1-for-3 off of The Yu, while the rest of the team went 0-14 with 7 Ks.

Kyle Drabek (4-4, 3.27 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 7.1 K/9

Drabek, once again, has the dubious task of matching up against The Yu. Drabek took the loss last time. He didn’t pitch poorly; as he scattered 5 hits over his 6 innings of work, walking two and striking out 8.

Drabek, like Darvish, flashes excellent pure stuff but gets into trouble when his command isn’t sharp. This is evident in his last start against Tampa Bay, when he went 6 innings, walked 6 but surrendered just 3 hits.

Elvis Andrus is 3-for-6 versus Drabek lifetime, and Adrian Beltre has touched him up to the tune of a .333 batting average.

Yorvit Torrealba has only one hit against Drabek over his career, but it was long ball, and Torrealbahas hit two home runs in his last two games…should be an interesting matchup.

The Rangers can complete the sweep if:

They continue to strike fast and furiously. Yesterday it was all Rangers in the first inning once again as they pounced on Henderson Alvarez for two quick runs.

They need to capitalize on Drabek’s tendency to go deep in counts by getting on base anyway possible. If they can do that, and the offense stays hot, the Rangers can pull of the sweep.

Prediction time:

The most important thing for Kyle Drabek to do today is go deep in the game; if the beleaguered Blue Jays bullpen has to be summoned too soon, we may just see backup catcher Jeff Mathis on the hill again.

And that would be fine with me.

I think The Yu is going to be sharp in the summer-like heat and will go six innings with 7 Ks to earn the win while seeing his ERA dip back into the twos where it belongs.

Rangers win 6-2.

Go Rangers!

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