Apr 162012

Some Thoughts on Yu Darvish and Joe NathanThe Texas Rangers are 8-2 (on pace for 129 wins!) and have earned a much-deserved day off. Still, especially with their red-hot start, a day without Texas Rangers baseball is rough.

It’s similar to the delight of consuming a delicious chocolate shake—loving it all the way—even down to the torturous final sip, when you know it’s almost gone.

Some might say that Joe Nathan has slipped some form of anti-goodness into our shakes, making that final sip—the ninth inning—bitter; even disgusting at times.

The side effects to Yu Darvish’s two rough starts have been astutely diagnosed as follows: dizziness, then drowsiness, followed by acute nausea and, finally, a full-on, wig-splitting headache.

But hell, he’s only partly to blame, after all he didn’t force me to drink beer by the gallon during his starts…or did he?

Well, just like that syrupy filth that your Mom used to give you when you had a cough, sometimes you’ve got to put up with the bad in order to get to the good.

Rest assured, for the Texas Rangers it’s mainly all good, but let’s shed some light on the bad.

Joe “XXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX” Nathan (nickname withheld…hint: rhymes with ‘cod slam smother tucking’)
0-2, 6.00 ERA, 3 Saves, 1 BS, 8 Ks, 0 BBs, 7 hits, 6 IP

We’ve already established that the Rangers are an impressive 8-2. They could have been 9-1 (maybe even 10-0) had it not been for Mr. Two First Names, and his “amazing” slider that seems to break right into the fat part of the opposition’s bats.

Granted, the one or two-win differential doesn’t matter a whole lot, at least not right now. Besides, if the Angels continue to play as they have, we might not have as close a stretch run as originally thought.

Regardless, Nathan has been pretty bad. It’s especially difficult to witness since his stuff seems to be fine, and he ‘s not walking anybody. Literally, he has yet to surrender a free pass.

Here’s hoping last night’s save in Minnesota is a sign of what is to come. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve already come to grips with Wednesday’s blown-save shellacking. As long as Nathan can stay in a groove, and miss some more bats, he should be fine.

Watching Joe Nathan close games gives me a whole new perspective on former closer, Neftali Feliz. It’s similar to watching Michael Young toil around third base when you’re used to watching Adrian Beltre.

Yu Darvish
1-0, 4.76 ERA, IP: 11.1, Hits: 17, BBs: 8, Ks: 9

Sure, I knew (as we all did) that Darvish wasn’t going to be as good as Justin Verlander immediately. Hell, Justin Verlander wasn’t even Justin Verlander until he had a few starts under his belt.

But, Darvish, in his first two starts has looked more like a young A.J. Burnett.

Ouch. But it’s far too early to close the book on Darvish. Remember, he’s only had two starts, and his second one was much better than his first. He’s also routinely praised for his work ethic, is only 25-years-old and teachable.

And, let’s not forget, that during his most recent start against the Twins, he had to deal with Michael Young playing third base. A folding chair with a Rangers hat would stop more ground balls.

Check out this quote from an unnamed scout on Darvish that appeared in one of Ken Rosenthal’s articles today:

“He’s going to give up a ton of hits,” the scout said. “A lot of his fastballs are very straight. The guy is supposed to throw hard. But he basically pitched at 89 to 92, touching 93-94. That’s pretty good in Japan. It’s not very good here.”
“He has a good cutter, a good curveball. But when he gets in trouble, he turns into a breaking-ball guy – nibble, nibble, he won’t let it go. He reminded me of Dice-K.”

I’m not even a big sabermetrics guy, and this idiotic quote makes me want to agree with the notion that scouts are a bunch of numbskulls.

To me the most angering thing about this quote is that it agrees with so much of the other negative crap that seems to assume that Darvish is a finished product, incapable of adjustment.

Dude, it’s not like we bought a Betamax cassette and we only have a VHS player to watch it on.

Darvish is going to be fine. He’s already good enough to be the Rangers’ number four starter, and he’ll only get better.

Now, as for Joe Nathan…well, the Rangers have plenty of other ninth-inning options should the bed-wetting continue

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