G9: Darvish better, but not great in 6-2 Rangers win

Yu Darvish takes the hill for his second start of the season, and his first on the road.  His first inning in this game was lightyears better than his first inning in his first game.    In his first game he threw 40+ pitches, faced 10 batters, and gave up four runs.  This game wasn’t anything like that.  His first inning he had a ground out, a fly out, a single, and a strike out.  That was it.   In fact, the first run he gave up wasn’t even his fault; it was unearned.

But, he was still a bit shaky.  Overall, his line was 5.2IP, 9H, 4BB, 2R, 1ER, and four strikeouts (102 pitches).  Not dominating by any stretch, but he was definitely dancing the tightrope. There were many times when it looked (yeah, I could see this one!) like he was going to fall off the wagon, and he didn’t.  One earned run in 5.2 innings isn’t that bad at all.  If this was a rookie (a real one, not one of these fake rookies that have years in Japanese ball) making his first starts, I’d probably be excited at the line.  But with the expectations (not to mention the paycheck), one expects more of Yu Darvish.  In the end, I expect he’ll be worth it, but right now, he’s still getting his feet wet, so to speak.   I would love for him to go out there, throw 8+ innings on 75-80 pitches, walk one, strike out 15 or so, and allow no runs on just two hits.  I think that’s the kind of line that will satiate some fans, nothing else would matter.

We’re unlikely to get that kind of line soon I would guess.   Just have to hope he has more good outings than bad.   Our pen did keep the Twins scoreless.  Robbie Ross, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams, & Joe Nathan all thew scoreless relief.  Nathan continued his impression of John Wetteland by allowing a few guys to get on first before getting the job done.   Nathan didn’t get a save, as we put the save opportunity out of reach in the top of the ninth.   Did like that  he came in anyway, especially given it’s the Twins ballpark.   I still feel our overall pitching would be better served with Ogando in the rotation, but I’m not sure who I’d move out for him.

Offensively, we had some power going.  We had six doubles in the game.  Two each by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, & Adrian Beltre.  Hamilton also had a home run, a titanic blast off of Nick Blackburn in the third inning.  Nice to see the power going – we had more than half (seven of thirteen) hits go for extra bases.

Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, & Ben Snyder had three hits each.  In fact, Snyder had a good day- made a couple of plays in the field, batted .750 in the game.  Great outing for a guy who hasn’t played yet to this point.  Also read where he’s our third catcher as well.  Wondered who that was, to be honest.

Robbie Ross got his first major league win in this game, after he came in for Darvish in the sixth.  I wonder, does he not have to wear the pink backpack anymore now?  :)

Hopefully Darvish’s third outing is more smooth than his first two.