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Yu Darvish: that’s not what an ace looks like

Aug 7, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

The Rangers have a decent lead on the Angels in the AL West, but their putative ace has some issues. Indeed, Yu Darvish has stunk on ice lately.

Darvish allowed six runs on 11 hits and walked four in six and two-thirds last night, losing to the Sox. In five starts since the All-Star break, the Darvish has posted a 7.76 ERA and has walked 21 batters in 31 innings. He’s 1-4 in that time. Control is an issue for sure, but even his strikes have problems, says manager Ron Washington:

“They popped the ball around the ballpark pretty good,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Yu threw a lot of strikes and when he put them in the strike zone, they didn’t miss them.”

A five game lead allows some room for that to get straightened out, but the Rangers will definitely want to see Darvish round back into first-half form before October rolls around.

  1. number42is1 - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    who cares about the first half… Wins in April don’t count anyway!

    • bigleagues - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      EVERY game counts.

  2. hammyofdoom - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Hopefully this is just rookie year tribulations for Yu Darvish, but the fact is Matsuzaka had a better rookie year than Yu Darvish has had (so far). They both struck out and walked a lot: Daisuke 200 k’s in 204 innings and 80 walks, but Darvish is on pace for 230 k’s and 111 walks in 201 innings. The strikeouts are nice but holy hell a 1.47 whip from Yu is terrifying, hell Matsuzaka had a 1.32 his rookie year. I want all the best for Yu but this has to be really unnerving for Rangers fans given past experiences in the MLB of high paid japanese pitchers.

    • bigleagues - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Some people were surprised that the Red Sox didn’t pursue Darvish . . .

      perhaps they weren’t looking to double down on Daisuke-types.

      • hammyofdoom - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        Not understanding the thumbs down for you, it could be true. Japanese pitchers have a pretty bad track record of coming here and A) walking a lot of people B) getting hurt. Those are two of the worst things in a starting pitcher. I’m sure Yu will get better since his pure stuff is way better than Daisuke Matsuzaka’s, but this cant be comforting for a guy you spent a ton of money on to be an ace.

      • bigleagues - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM


        you elaborated my point nicely.

        thumbs up or thumbs down . . . they are all still thumbs!

      • kkolchak - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        “I’m sure Yu will get better since his pure stuff is way better than Daisuke Matsuzaka’s”

        Wouldn’t it stand to reason that like Matsuzaka, Yu will get worse as the league gets familiar with him?

  3. approvenothing - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Oh boy, everyone throw the panic switch! Joking, no need for that nonsense. The guy is being paid 10M a year, even if he doesnt pan out as a N1 not like Maddux can’t fix him up and make him a reliable 2 starter. Also, if you expect a pitcher just to come in and dominate, then you aren’t the brightest of all people.

  4. virusgvr - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Totally worth every penny they are paying him. He makes 10 million a year and here I am stuck In traffic to go to work to make my 40k per year!!! Winner!!!!

    • approvenothing - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Well i’m sorry your job at Walmart hasn’t panned out for you…

  5. mrjavascript - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Raise your hands if you expected Wei Lei Chen to be the better value than Darvish.

    • bmorelikeme - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      I certainly didn’t expect it, but Wei Yen has been amazing this year. It’s a strange feeling as an O’s fan to see things unexpectedly workout in our favor. The best part is Chen is only 26 years old and could contribute in Baltimore for a long time.

      • mrjavascript - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        I can’t believe people are down-voting my comment. Yes Chen doesn’t have the “stuff” that Darvish has, but at least he can find the strike zone. Chen can also miss bats too. He frequently gets swing and misses on his fast ball, and he can pile up the strikeouts too if needed (he struck out 12 batters two starts ago against Oakland.)

        Texas’ commitment is $112M over six years for Darvish. Baltimore only committed $12M over three years (plus has a super-affordable $4M club option in 2015) for Chen. As an Orioles fan, I love the return on this investment.

    • rockthered1286 - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Wei Yen Chen has been outstanding. 3-1 mark since All Star break. ERA under 2 in that time frame, and he’s been racking up K’s right and left. With Darvish getting all of the attention, Chen has silently been one of the better overseas acquisitions this offseason (although it must be noted, Chen is from Taiwan not Japan).

      • mrjavascript - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        The Orioles brought in two pitchers from overseas this past winter, Chen (3/$12M) and Wada (2/$8M.) Wada was out for the season unfortunately, but if he comes back next year strong, give credit to Dan Duquette and the front office for scouting the right arms.

      • rockthered1286 - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        Lets not forget The Duke was also involved in our trade of Guthrie to the Rockies for Jason Hammel who has been outstanding this year (up til the injury) and Lindstrom who has been a solid reliever for the most part. Duke has made some good moves for the yard birds, and to combine those his acquisitions of guys like McClouth for a minor league deal, Thome for chump change (although hurt now, he was a good acquisition at the time) and Omar Quintanilla for cash… you would never know the Duke was away from MLB.

  6. gloccamorra - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    I’ve heard the Rangers have restricted the types of pitches Darvish can throw to just a few. Unless a couple in his bag of tricks are illegal (expectoration pitch), let him use his full arsenal.

    • hammyofdoom - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      Well part of the problem Daisuke had was his arm slot would get totally out of whack from too many pitches. I think they want him down to 5 pitches a game, whih ever work for him best that day

    • Bryz - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      That’s odd, because this claims that Darvish is still throwing 6 pitches: 4-seamer, slider, 2-seamer, cutter, curveball, splitter.

      Even if you argue that his repertoire has been restricted lately, well…

    • kkolchak - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      The one where he throws the ball between his legs to the plate probably won’t work too well in the majors. 😀

  7. kiwicricket - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I would imagine climate would be an issue at this stage in the season.

    • geoknows - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      I too wondered if he would wilt come August. And he’s not used to pitching every five days, to boot.

  8. keithbangedyermom - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    When are teams going to learn? The Japanese league performances do not translate. Darvish is a very good pitcher, but he’s no ace. Every couple years some Japanese pitcher gets hyped beyond belief and some team shells out huge money just to get disappointed.

  9. cur68 - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    The AL has seen what he has to offer and are killing it. We all knew this would happen whether we wanted to admit it or not. The trick now is can he change his stuff up enough to start fooling guys again? Its going to be up to him & Napoli to sort this out. The real test of Darvish started in the 2nd half. Lets see what he’s made of.

  10. echech88 - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    I get Darvish has a higher ceiling *if* he figures it out but the fact they didn’t even make Wilson an offer in favor of throwing $100M at this guy sure looks like one of the all-time cases of a front office over-thinking it (and, apparently, blowing it).

    • angrycorgi - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      It saddens me that people are so uneducated as to keep making the CJ argument/comment. CJ Wilson didn’t want the Rangers and the Rangers didn’t want him. CJ was pissed about Texas not bidding higher to raise the Angels’ price and give CJ more money, not because he wanted to stay in Texas. Texas didn’t want CJ, because the guy spent all of his off-seasons in California and never shut up about how much he’d rather be there (and because CJ is a well-documented d-bag). If anyone thinks for a second that he would have stayed in Texas, then that person simply isn’t paying attention.

  11. uyf1950 - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    It looks like the rest of the league has caught up to Darvish much sooner then even I thought. I figured for sure he’d have this season to showcase his “stuff” before teams and players figured him out. Don’t think that’s the case anymore.

  12. papacrick - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Rangers have zero chance of repeating last years performance with that starting rotation

    • angrycorgi - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      People said they couldn’t win anything with the starting rotation they had in 2010 and 2011 too.

      • henryd3rd - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        And just how many World Series rings do they have? Please remind me because somehow I have lost count!

  13. billymc75 - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Why does everybody think a rookie is there Ace (and he’s still a rookie)! Is so obvious Harrison is their ace. Quit asking this guy to pitch all the different pitches, just throw fast balls. Replace Holland with Oswalt! Holland has twenty HRs where his article?

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