Extra Bases: Yu Darvish pitching like ace

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
8:00
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish may not consider himself to be in the class of Justin Verlander just yet.

But Darvish is certainly held in high regard in the Rangers' clubhouse.

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"He's certainly been our ace," manager Ron Washington said.

Darvish was asked Sunday in advance of Tuesday's start against Oakland if he considered himself in the class of the Tigers' Cy Young winning pitcher after beating him last Thursday in a game that Verlander allowed eight runs without getting out of the third inning.

Darvish, who allowed four runs in eight innings in the start, said he's just at his starting point with only 38 games started in the big leagues.

"If that's the way he feels, that's fine with me," Washington said. "Just as long as he keeps pitching the way he has been pitching. An ace, in his mind, is somebody who has been doing it a long time. But he has been an ace here in Texas, and he certainly has the stuff to be an ace."

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Darvish has been hurt by the long ball of late, allowing seven home runs in his last four starts. One concern could be his success rate with his pitches thrown in or above the upper-half of the strike zone.

He produced 59 swings and 23 of them were swings and misses during his first five starts on pitches up in the strike zone. But he's only gotten 10 misses on 44 swings on fastballs up in the zone while allowing three home runs.

Other notes:

Lindblom likely will start again: Starting pitcher Josh Lindblom was optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock after taking the loss in Monday's 9-2 defeat to Oakland. Still, expect him to start one game in Monday's doubleheader at Arizona. Lindblom needs to focus on doing one thing, Washington said. "Keep the ball down," the manager said.

Bullpen needs help: The Rangers have another roster move to make after sending down Lindblom and catcher Robinson Chirinos and only activating catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Expect them to call up left-handed reliever Neal Cotts, who has 42 strikeouts in 23 innings in Triple-A. Washington used Joseph Ortiz for 40 pitches and Michael Kirkman for 26 in Monday's loss, so he can use another lefty in the bullpen for Tuesday's game.

Martin continues streak: Center fielder Leonys Martin continues to come into his own, taking a six-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game. He has seven hits in his last 18 at-bats with two doubles and a triple.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Pedro Figueroa
WINS ERA SO IP
2 4.50 2 8
OTHER LEADERS
BAE. Andrus .302
HRE. Andrus 1
RBIA. Rios 7
RE. Andrus 9
OPSS. Choo .830
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23