ARLINGTON, Texas -- Coming off one of his worst performances at home in his previous start, Yu Darvish was hoping to get back on track Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels. Darvish couldn't ask for a better start, but eventually walks -- which have been a recurring theme -- stirred up trouble for the rookie.
Darvish retired the first seven batters he faced -- four on strikeouts -- before walking the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in the Angels' lineup. That kickstarted a six-run third inning for L.A. Darvish said he let the walk to eight-hole hitter Chris Iannetta affect him mentally, which led to the free pass to Andrew Romine.
The right-hander recollected himself and got Angels rookie standout Mike Trout to hit a grounder back to the mound that left Darvish with a decision. He could have thrown to third and gotten the lead runner out with ease, but he wanted to turn two to end the inning. Darvish threw a bullet to Elvis Andrus, who was running to cover second, but the ball arrived to quickly and landed in the glove of Ian Kinsler, who was backing up the play.
"Knowing that Trout hit it and he's got good speed, I had to turn a double play as soon as I could to get those guys out," Darvish said through interpreter Joe Furukawa. "A lot of things happened on that play. It was a very unusual, awkward play. You may get that one time a year or maybe not. After that, I have to work to control the big inning and prevent those from happening."
Darvish was handed a no-decision in the Rangers' 11-10, 10-inning comeback win. He allowed seven runs on four hits with a season-high tying six walks while striking out seven in five innings. Five of the six walks issued by Darvish came around to score.
"We've just have to keep talking to him and reminding him to attack the hitters," manager Ron Washington said. "But sometimes when you get out there, you do what you think you have to do. He's the pitcher. He's doing what he thinks he has to do to survive out there. That part of it will come. There are times when he does go out there and pound the strike zone. There have been times when he has done that.
"I think we have to let him grow at his pace. The pace is real rapid. The thing is through all of that, he stood out there and battled and we were able to get him off the hook. And the next time he takes the ball he can get us off the hook."
The walks have been a problem for Darvish all season long. He is tied for third in the majors and tied for second in the American League in walks with 70 in 20 starts. Darvish admitted that issuing the walks is starting to get to him.
"I don't think it is just tonight," Darvish said. "Just in general, I think I'm starting to think about the walks. Maybe I'm thinking about that too much or paying too much attention to not walking guys. Those are things that I think are getting into my head and affecting the mentality on my part.
"Next time, I'm not going to be afraid to walk guys and just give it my all and the team wins, that's all I'm going to care about. I'm going to try to clear my mind and not even think about it."
With Angels breathing down the Rangers' back in the standings, Texas needs Darvish to figure out the problems and start pitching like he did to earn a spot in the All-Star game in July. If he doesn't, it could be a long road for both Darvish and the Rangers.