Ranger Resolution: Make Yu Darvish an ace
Today's resolution: Prove that Yu Darvish is an ace
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsAfter a strong finish to 2012, the Rangers need Yu Darvish to show he can pitch like an ace for an entire season.
There weren't many folks that expected to see signs of that right away. And those signs weren't there early. Darvish struggled in his debut and had trouble with his control, walking too many batters for much of the season. But the baseball world saw Darvish figure things out in his final regular-season starts and in a solid start in the AL wild-card game.
Manager Ron Washington believes it was a start in Boston in August that got things turned around for Darvish. The 26-year-old pitcher had a chat with Washington and the skipper felt like he was beginning to figure things out. The numbers show that to be true:
Before Aug. 6 start (Bos): 11-8, 4.57 ERA in 21 starts, 74 walks (3.5 walks per start), 154 strikeouts (in 134 innings), .238 opponent average
After Aug. 6 start: 5-1, 2.35 ERA in 8 starts, 15 walks (1.8 per start), 67 strikeouts (57 1/3 innings), .176 opponent average
Darvish was very good under the bright lights of the postseason, allowing two earned runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks in a loss to Baltimore in the AL wild-card game.
Darvish pitched like an ace in those final nine starts of 2012. But to really earn the title of "ace," he must do it over the long haul in 2013. He has to show that he can be consistent over an entire season. It was a huge step to pitch his best in meaningful games down the stretch. A bigger step will be becoming a true stopper -- the guy that teammates know will win a game nearly every time he gets the ball.
That's one of the Ranger Resolutions this year: For Darvish to prove he's an ace. It sets up the entire rotation, with Matt Harrison and Derek Holland following his lead. If Darvish proves he's the pitcher the Rangers think he is, he can lead this staff into the future. It's a young group that should only get better. Darvish is the guy at the top of that staff. It's time to show he can pitch like it for an entire season.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Oakland for his weekly visit.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss his role with the Rangers. Ryan says that he has not been in contact with the Astros about a possible opening and he doesn't think that he would be interested anyway.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit and wastes no time sounding off on MLB umpire Angel Hernandez.
Play Podcast Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland joins GAC from Milwaukee to discuss what it was like facing former teammate Scott Feldman, Texas' upcoming series and more.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Milwaukee for his weekly visit and discusses Nick Tepesch, the Rangers' rotation, interleague play and more.