Friday, May 16, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 2, Rangers 0
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two runs in the eighth inning decided things as Yu Darvish took the loss against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday despite another solid outing for the Texas Rangers. Some quick thoughts:
Darvish dazzles: It was vintage Darvish, with terrific movement on his pitches, a nasty slider, plenty of strikeouts and little run support. Just a week after flirting with a no-hitter, Darvish didn't give up his first hit until the fifth. It took two bunt hits to get things going for the Jays, who scored two in the eighth. Darvish, as he has in the past, threw a bunch of pitches, climbing to 90 through six innings, but still lasted through eight with 116.
Double-digit K's: Darvish struck out 11 batters, the second consecutive start where he's had 10 or more. It's the first time Darvish has had consecutive 10-plus strikeout games since August of last season. Darvish has 22 games of 10 or more strikeouts in his career, third-most in club history (Nolan Ryan had 34; Bobby Witt had 24). Since Darvish came to Texas in 2012, no one except Darvish has more than 14 games of 10 or more strikeouts.
Scoring-position woes: Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus both came up with a runner in scoring position in the sixth and couldn't deliver. That's been an issue for Andrus this entire season as he's now 1-for-29 with runners in scoring position. The one hit was April 5 in Tampa Bay, the fifth game of the season. Andrus also saw his 11-game hit streak end Friday. Choo was just 2-for-13 in Houston and has 13 strikeouts in his past 25 at-bats.
Bunt hits: Unable to do much of anything off Darvish, the Blue Jays put down consecutive bunt hits in the eighth as the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters (Erik Kratz and Anthony Gose) put down some great bunts to get on base. With runners on first and third, Melky Cabrera hit a double over the glove of leaping Mitch Moreland to score both runs.
Not-so-sweet-home: The Rangers are now 11-11 at home this season and have just two wins in their past 10 games. The club hasn't won a home series since beating the Chicago White Sox April 18-20. Texas will need to win Saturday and Sunday to end that streak.
Wasted effort: For the fourth consecutive time against the Blue Jays, Darvish pitched seven or more innings with three or fewer runs allowed. The Rangers are 0-4 in those starts. That goes back, as it usually does, to lack of run support. Texas has scored a total of six runs in those games, which includes an 18-inning game last June.
Complete game: Toronto's Drew Hutchison pitched efficiently and effectively and took advantage of a large strike zone from plate umpire Hal Gibson. He ended up with the first complete game of his career, allowing just three hits. That included an infield single to lead off the ninth. But he was able to get Choo and Andrus to fly out and Adrian Beltre to pop out.
Power surge in Class A: Rangers prospect Joey Gallo had a memorable night for Class A Myrtle Beach, going 4-for-4 with three home runs and five RBIs. Gallo has 17 home runs to lead all of minor league baseball. It was Gallo's second three-homer game of the season. The Rangers as a team don't have one of those.
Up next: Left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. (1-4, 5.04 ERA) goes up against LHP Mark Buehrle (7-1, 2.04 ERA) at 7:15 CT on Saturday night. The club will honor Michael Young in a pregame ceremony at 6:35 p.m.