- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON – The ace of the Texas Rangers staff didn’t pitch like it on Saturday night.
Yu Darvish's fastball had nothing on it. He couldn’t get his slider or changeup over for strikes, either. He tried a cut fastball that didn’t work, and as manager Ron Washington and catcher Geovany Soto said, simply: “He’s human.”
Yeah, Darvish fell to 10-7 on the season as the Rangers lost 8-3 to the Houston Astros. Darvish is now 1-5 in nine starts against the American League West, with two losses to the young, hungry Astros.
We can only think about what that means in the big picture.
On Saturday night, however, Darvish was outpitched by former Ranger Scott Feldman, who made the Texas ace look like a No. 4 starter.
It happens. It’s baseball. It’s just not the end of the world.
Asked if he could take anything from this start to next week’s outing against Tampa Bay, Darvish in his cool, calm demeanor said, “No, nothing.”
Who can blame him?
He threw 31 pitches in the first inning and gave up just two runs when it looked like more should have come home. He failed to get out of the fifth inning when he loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. Jon Singleton doubled down the right-field line for two more runs and Matt Dominguez singled in another for a 5-0 lead.
Washington had to pull the right-hander after 113 pitches.
“Although I struggled, I was able to get through four innings and tried to minimized the damage,” Darvish said through his interpreter. “I gave up the first initial hit in the fifth inning and I wanted to get more outs in the inning, but they were able to get more hits and the rest is history.”
A great thing about Darvish, as good as he’s been this season, is that he’s quite honest about his performances. He doesn’t sugar-coat things and he's not one to make excuses.
Remember when he praised the Yankees Brett Gardner a few weeks ago for hitting a couple of home runs off him? Darvish will give credit to the people who beat him.
Saturday night, it seemed he was getting frustrated against the Astros and hoping some of those breaking pitches would be called for strikes over the lower half of the plate.
Darvish never complained about home-plate umpire Jim Wolf’s strike zone. He didn’t stare down Wolf on a few close pitches.
He just kept, well, pitching.
“Just falling behind a couple of hitters and kinda off character,” Soto said. “He’s been unbelievable for us.”
Washington has seen plenty of elite pitchers during his life in baseball, and understands that rough outings will develop on some nights. If a pitcher is consistent, which Darvish is, those bad outings will not dominate a résumé.
"Just didn’t have any command of his fastball and just couldn’t find another pitch he could go to until he got back to the fastball," Washington said. "Just didn’t get comfortable on that mound tonight had no rhythm. Just wasn't his night."
Darvish is the one constant for this Rangers pitching staff. The young pitchers watch Darvish and take notes on how he handles his business because he's the alpha and omega of the group.
Saturday night, Darvish was an average guy searching for one or two pitches that could work.
He found nothing of substance on a consistent basis.
“It was real difficult to locate my fastball and my breaking balls weren’t crisp,” he said. “So overall, I just had a really poor outing today.”
7hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
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