There's lots of talk about curses these days with the Texas Rangers. Some of you have mentioned that the rash of injuries have come after Nolan Ryan's exit and Ian Kinsler's comments that he hopes the club goes 0-162.
But what if there's another curse of sorts at play when it comes to starting pitchers? With Yu Darvish out with neck stiffness and headed back to Dallas to chat with Dr. Drew Dossett, a neck and back specialist, it only adds to the list of Opening Day starters who have had rough luck for the Rangers the past few seasons.
Matt Harrison got the start last year on a Sunday night in Houston and gave up six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Astros. Harrison struggled in his next start, ended up having two back surgeries and missed the rest of the season. Harrison had back tightness earlier this spring that put him behind, but he's ramping up for the season and appears to be making good progress.
It was Colby Lewis' turn in 2012 and he was on his way to another solid season and, likely, a nice multiyear contract when he tore a flexor tendon in his elbow in July and was lost for the entire season. Lewis tried to come back last year and wasn't able to get to the big leagues when his velocity never materialized. He's had a good spring and is hoping to find his way into the rotation this year.
Back in 2010, Scott Feldman took the mound for the opener after posting a career-high 17 wins the previous season. Feldman's sinker, his best pitch, just wasn't as effective and he ended up losing his rotation job. He also dealt with injuries that season and was on the DL in late August and early September. He needed microfracture surgery on his knee right after the season. Feldman is now in Houston.
The only pitcher who escaped struggles or injuries after starting on Opening Day recently was C.J. Wilson, who started in 2011 and went on to go 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA in his final season in Texas. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels at the winter meetings in Dallas a few months after the season.
So has the Opening Day starter curse struck a little early this year with Darvish's issues? Or is Darvish avoiding the fate of some of these others by not actually making that first start? Only time will tell.
But this spring training has been unlike any that I can remember with all the injuries. The club should know more about Darvish's condition Wednesday or Thursday and what it means for his start to the season.