Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish

Reliever Neal Cotts claimed off waivers

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
12:30
PM CT
Texas Rangers reliever Neal Cotts has been claimed off revocable waivers, according to a source. The organization has until Friday to work out a trade with the claiming team or pull Cotts off waivers.

(UPDATE: The Rangers couldn’t work out a deal, so they pulled Cotts back, meaning he can no longer be traded.)

The Rangers have sent Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios through waivers in the last few weeks. But the team has no intention of trading some of its high-priced talent such as Darvish because of the value he has to the franchise.

However, GM Jon Daniels is doing his due diligence analyzing the market for his players. Daniels said he's open to trading players entering the final year of their contracts, which is the case with Rios and Cotts. The team has an $13.5 million option on Rios and expressed interest in him returning.

Cotts becomes a free agent once the season ends, and the organization has expressed interest in bringing him back in 2015 even if he's traded to another team.

After being charged with a blown save August 8 against the Astros, Cotts hasn't allowed a run in his last 3 2/3 innings of work. He's allowed two hits and one while striking out two over that span.

Cotts has become one of manager Ron Washington's more reliable relievers, but with the club utilizing younger pitchers, the 34-year-old Cotts has become expendable at this stage of the season. It might be a different story had the Rangers been in contention.

These are very key times for Yu Darvish

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
12:00
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This is a critical week for the Rangers in terms of where they stand with ace Yu Darvish. At some point he should throw a bullpen session.

It doesn’t have to occur today or tomorrow, but he needs to throw sometime. Darvish wasn’t expected to make the two-game road trip to Miami, where the Texas Rangers face the Miami Marlins. If anything, Darvish isn’t needed now.

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He's needed next week and there’s an expectation Darvish will pitch at Seattle on Aug. 25, the day he comes off the 15-day disabled list due to inflammation with his right elbow.

This is mild inflammation and the Rangers don’t want to push Darvish into something that would hurt him in the long term. Darvish needs to show the club he can pitch through some discomfort, especially if games are meaningful.

Now you could say the Rangers aren’t involved in meaningful games. But people inside the organization would disagree, because there is Adrian Beltre playing hard every day minus a day off in a lost season.

You see Elvis Andrus walking around the clubhouse with ice on his back. Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo are playing through ankle sprains when it’s clear they need rest. Rios is even getting treatment for a minor hand injury, too.

“We’re in a race to win ballgames,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said last week. “I expect Darvish to pitch on the 25th. Why wouldn’t he? So he’s got inflammation. I’ve got inflammation.”

(Read full post)

Stock Report: Bullpen up, Darvish down

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
1:00
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The Rangers had an eventful week with two walk-off victories and they avoided getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels.

STOCK UP

Streaking
Bullpen: Relievers Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz worked two scoreless innings in Sunday's victory over the Angels. In the three game series against the Angles, the Rangers bullpen gave up just one run over eight innings and has a 0.40 ERA over the last six games.

Leonys Martin: The starting center fielder is surging. After an 0-for-12 stretch, Martin went 10-for-21 the last six games. In the just completed seven-game homestand, Martin hit .417 and picked up his first career four-hit game Tuesday against Tampa Bay. While he's not hitting against left-handed starters, Martin is improving.

Adam Rosales: A nice week for the backup first baseman as he helped the Rangers to two walk-off wins. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 14th inning in a win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday and he got a single in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Angels on Sunday. Rosales reached base three times Sunday.

STOCK DOWN

Slumping
Yu Darvish: The ace went on the disabled list with mild inflammation in his right elbow Wednesday. Darvish could have pitched through the discomfort but doesn't want to risk his future. The Rangers don't have plans to shut down his season but are monitoring his progress. He is expected to return Aug. 25 at Seattle.

Alex Rios: He's playing through a sprained ankle and you wonder if that's bothering him at home plate. He's in a 1-for-21 spell with just two RBIs. He ended an 0-for-16 drought with a single Saturday night and his slash line, .285/.314/.401, should be much better considering what he's done in the past.

J.P. Arencibia: A tough stretch for the starting first baseman. He finished the homestand 1-for-13 and snapped an 0-for-19 stretch with an RBI single Saturday. He did the team a solid by pitching a scoreless ninth in relief Wednesday night. But his once-hot bat is now cold.

Darvish: More questions than answers

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
11:15
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Something doesn't add up around here.

Yu Darvish, the ace of the Texas Rangers' staff, said he has endured inflammation before in his right elbow. He had it in Japan in 2011, and it hurt so bad he couldn't play catch. Darvish missed a spring training start but was able to start the season on time. He was fantastic that year with a 1.44 ERA, and an 18-6 record in 232 innings.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish said he has pitched through worse pain than he's dealing with now when he played in Japan.
Though Darvish hasn't gotten close to those numbers in the major leagues, he's a dominant pitcher and one who is now beginning to look as if he's dealing with consistent fatigue issues in the second half of seasons.

"It's really hard to explain about your health," Darvish said through an interpreter Thursday after being put on the disabled list because of elbow inflammation. "Not all the injuries are caused, or you can find the right reasons for your injuries. I don't think this injury was caused by my fatigue."

Darvish said the elbow inflammation he's dealing with is mild compared to what he dealt with in 2011.

So why spend time on the disabled list?

Darvish said it's the smart play because he doesn't want to risk his future, and it's one the Rangers continue to worry about in the big picture given their fragile state in 2014.

If the Rangers want to contend next season, they need a healthy Darvish.

It's interesting Darvish said he could pitch, then said he couldn't pitch, then said well he doesn't want to hurt himself therefore messing up his future should his elbow give up on him.

When you look at the numbers of Darvish's career, he excels in the beginning and falters late.

(Read full post)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The world around the Texas Rangers centered on whether Yu Darvish's MRI results from a balky right elbow would bring more doom and gloom to their season.

As the Rangers awaited the results, manager Ron Washington had to move forward.

Thursday night he moved Robbie Ross into the starting rotation to replace Darvish, who is now on the 15-day disabled list, to face the Tampa Bay Rays. When Ross was last here, he struggled as a starter, going 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA in nine outings.

Ross was moved to the bullpen and didn't fare much better, allowing 13 runs (12 earned) in 12 innings before being sent down to Triple-A Round Rock. The demotion was good for Ross because he needed to work on his mental and physical game.

"He wasn't in a very good state because he wasn't being successful," Washington said of Ross. "He couldn't figure out how to right the ship. It was something he wasn't used to, and he had to think about and do some things. I hope for Robbie's sake and our sake the time he spent down there and the adjustments that he thought he felt like he had to make, he made them and he can come back here and be successful."

Washington also has high hopes for Nick Martinez, who will face the Angels in the opening of a three-game weekend set at Glove Life Park on Friday.

Washington said Martinez has big league stuff, and if Martinez were in the minor leagues he would dominate.

"He's making strides," Washington said of Martinez, who is 2-8 with a 5.22 ERA. "It's hard to see up here."

Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux continue to ask young pitchers to get 27 outs for them on a nightly basis, and that's growing harder by the day now without Darvish.

Moreland, Profar update: Rangers first baseman/DH Mitch Moreland said he got the cast removed from his left foot and is now in a walking boot. Moreland played in just 52 games this season before undergoing surgery to rebuild his ankle. He's not sure when he'll begin baseball activities.

"I like to get back as quick as I can," Moreland said.

Also, second baseman Jurickson Profar (shoulder surgery) fielded ground balls for the first time this summer on Wednesday and made some light throws Thursday.

"Obviously you want to be on the field around your team," Profar said. "At the same time, you're using it to get stronger and everything (with) my mindset. It's hard to be a year without playing baseball. It's kind of hard, but at the same time it's about getting your mind strong (and) you want to be a stronger person."

Base Hits: The Rangers demoted reliever Nate Adcock to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Ross. In seven games, Adcock had a 4.50 ERA and opponents hit .289 against him. ... Shin-Soo Choo was in the lineup Thursday in right field for the 10th time this season. Alex Rios, the normal right fielder, was the DH for the 13th time. Both players are nursing ankle sprains and will rotate between DH and RF.

Yu Darvish's arm issues tied to workload?

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
12:30
PM CT
Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish talked about the state of pitching during the All-Star break and how pitcher's are used. The normally guarded Darvish was pointed in his remarks and made sense on quite a few levels.

Darvish mentioned how several Japanese pitchers who sign contracts to play in the big leagues develop arm injuries for a variety of reasons, whether it’s throwing a bigger baseball in the U.S., the mound surfaces, types of pitches thrown -- particularly cutters and sliders -- and the workload.

In Japan, pitchers throw once a week. Here in America, pitchers throw every five days and sometimes on three days rest.

Darvish had been able to avoid arm injuries in his three seasons -- until now. Darvish has right elbow inflammation and an MRI will determine if it’s more serious than that.

After replaying his comments from last July, you kinda of felt he saw this coming.

“I think everybody has a hard time maintaining their health, and everyone has a risk of getting injured,” Darvish said to Japanese reporters during the All-Star break. “It depends on how you lower the risk of getting injured. I think it is becoming to the age where the individual has to take care of their own body. I think that is the difference-maker.”

The increases of Tommy John surgeries in baseball has many scared about the future of pitching. Old-school pitchers pitched through arm soreness; today they shut you down.

Darvish told the Rangers he could have pitched through the tightness in his elbow, but the team decided against it because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing to play for here.

General manager Jon Daniels said the team hasn’t discussed shutting Darvish down the rest of the year. If he returns following his 15-day stint on the DL he could have seven starts left on normal four days rest.

Is it worth pitching him at all?

“I mean we’re real premature on that. Let’s get the MRI and see,” Daniels said. “I don’t think that’s where his head is and where our head is.”

The workload might have something to do with the arm issues in baseball, particularly with pitchers coming here from overseas. Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka also is out with arm problems. Darvish has avoided injuries for the most part, but Tanaka didn’t, and he was going on five and six days rest at times during the 2014 season.

“It's way too short,” Darvish said then of the rest between starts. “That's why they have pitch-count limitations, but pitch count doesn't have much to do with it. You could throw 120 pitches, 140 pitches and have six days rest and the inflammation on the ligament will all be healed. So I think that's it.”

The Rangers are taking a measured approach with Darvish's injury. And no one wants to think about the idea of Tommy John surgery, with so many pitchers already going under the knife this season.

Increasing the number of pitchers is one idea, but it's something the owners might not want because rosters and payrolls would increase. But more pitchers means less time on the mound, and it might help curtail arm injuries.

"It's such a waste (of talent)," Darvish said of pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery. "The top brass of organizations should protect them. I think doing so (adding more pitchers) would (be) profitable, so they should talk about it."

Extra Bases: Claudio needs ride for debut

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
11:15
AM CT
ARLLINGTON, Texas – Alex Claudio was going through his normal routine Wednesday night when he got the news.

He had been promoted from Triple-A Round Rock and needed to get up I-35 quick for the Texas Rangers' game against the Rays.

One problem.

Claudio, a 22-year old left-handed reliever from Puerto Rico, doesn’t have an American driver’s license.

“When I was there, it was after BP (and) I was going to the hot and cold tub,” Claudio said through an interpreter. “But they called me to the office and asked me, ‘Do you have a car?' And I don’t have a car. So what happened? they brought me here.”

Claudio got the call because Yu Darvish was placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation and the Rangers needed a reliever for Wednesday night’s game.

Good thing someone had time at Round Rock -- about a two-and-half hour drive to Arlington -- to drive him, because manager Ron Washington needed him.

Claudio came in in the eighth inning of the 10-1 loss to the Rays, recorded his first strikeout and retired all three batters he faced.
Washington knew about Claudio, having met him at spring training in Surprise, Ariz., but he had to get re-introduced to him.

“I met him when he walked up on the mound,” a grinning Washington said of Claudio, who arrived at the ballpark nearly an hour after the game started.

Claudio was named the Rangers’ 2013 minor league reliever of the year after compiling a 2.05 ERA and a 0.979 WHIP. This season in 27 games at Myrtle Beach (High-A), Frisco (AA) and Round Rock, Claudio has continued to pitch well. He’s 6-3 with a 1.66 ERA with four saves over 27 games. Opponents are hitting just .244 against him this season.

Big-league hitters were blanked against him after one night, and there’s hope he can continue the solid pitching.

“Claudio did a heck of a job, didn’t he?” Washington said. “He came in and threw strikes. Threw that changeup there and got us three quick outs.”

Notes: Rookie left-hander Phil Klein hasn’t pitched the last two games despite tossing two scoreless innings in his previous two outings. Washington said Klein was warming up to enter games the last two nights but the Rangers elected not to bring him in. Washington said Klein is available if necessary for Thursday’s game. … Geovany Soto was given Wednesday off after catching all 14 innings Tuesday. Soto is expected to catch Robbie Ross for Thursday’s series finale against Tampa. … SS Elvis Andrus has reached base in 17 of the last 19 games (.338). … Leonys Martin has five hits in his last nine plate appearances.

Rangers react to losing Yu Darvish

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
11:33
PM CT
Yu Darvish AP Photo/Brandon WadeThe Rangers hope Yu Darvish misses only a couple starts; Thursday's MRI may decide.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The news is quite stunning, but the Texas Rangers almost have a calmness about them right now.

The reaction to losing ace Yu Darvish to right-elbow inflammation Wednesday, the eve of a scheduled start, was just another head-shaking moment.

“You don’t get numb to that, when you get news like that,” manager Ron Washington said after the Rangers’ 10-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. “You see who else is available and keep moving on, that’s all you can do.”

Even Darvish seemed pretty calm. He walked through the clubhouse Wednesday night carrying what seemed like a heavy box.

He will undergo an MRI on Thursday, and the Rangers are hoping the results are such that he will miss just two starts and possibly return for a late-August turn in Seattle.

The Rangers have used a club-record 34 pitchers this season, and when they inserted Alex Claudio into the eighth inning Wednesday, the left-handed reliever became the 17th rookie to see the field. That leads the majors.

Washington has seen 24 players go on the DL and currently has 14 sitting there, which also leads the majors.

“It’s nothing new,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “That’s what’s been going on with this team. It sucks that happened to [Darvish]. I don’t think any kind of news is new for us.”

With injuries come young and inexperienced players. Some, who probably need more seasoning in the minors or are journeymen, get significant playing time.

The Rangers have used 56 players this season, a league high and most in franchise history.

The ups and downs started for this clubhouse when lefty starter Derek Holland suffered a knee injury while tripping over his dog and continued with surgeries for Mitch Moreland, Prince Fielder and Jurickson Profar.

Good news around here qualifies as seeing players begin rehab outings, such as Holland, scheduled to pitch Thursday at Triple-A Round Rock -- or Profar, who was fielding grounders at second base three hours before Wednesday's first pitch.

“I’ve been in that boat many times, and we just got to have to chalk it up to just a year of injuries,” said starter Colby Lewis, who has returned from hip and arm surgeries to pitch this season. “You know it sucks. You never think of this many guys going down in one year. But it happens and you got to deal with what we got -- and hopefully a lot of guys get healthy in the offseason and rehab in the offseason and be ready for spring training.”

With Darvish landing on that list, the Rangers keeping their sanity could rest on the hope that he misses just two starts and continues his season.

“It’s just been experience, really,” Washington said. “You take it on and you know for the most part this isn’t something that’s normal. So you deal with it and it’s been a necessity to make the moves we had to make with that pitching staff -- and we’ll continue to do that until there’s no more baseball to be played.”

A confident Ross replaces Darvish

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
8:33
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Robbie Ross was a lost man while he spent time with the Texas Rangers.

Now he has found himself.

[+] EnlargeRobbie Ross
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezRobbie Ross, set to slide into Yu Darvish's spot, was "ready to get another opportunity," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said.
The left-hander is set to replace staff ace Yu Darvish on Thursday night against Tampa Bay. Darvish went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with elbow trouble.

Ross is 2-4 with a 5.61 ERA in 18 games for the Rangers this season, with nine starts.

The Rangers moved him from the rotation to the bullpen, but success did not exactly follow. On June 8, he was sent down to Triple-A Round Rock, where he worked on his mechanics and confidence.

“He’s throwing the ball well and both [Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman and minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark] felt like he’s made progress and was ready to get another opportunity," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He would have been up in September if this had not come along.”

At Round Rock, Ross went 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA in nine games, including eight starts. He pitched deep into games, including an Aug. 2 start against Memphis in which he notched a five-hit complete game.

“It’s an opportunity and we’ll put him in there tomorrow and he feels good about himself,” Daniels said. “He’s got his confidence back and made a couple of mechanical changes, but the biggest thing is he’s got his confidence back.”
ARLINGTON, Texas -- In another step in his recovery, projected starting second baseman Jurickson Profar started fielding grounders at Globe Life Park on Wednesday afternoon before his Texas Rangers faced the Tampa Bay Rays. Profar, who has missed the season because of right shoulder surgery, isn't throwing yet but has been cleared to start a program in a few weeks.

“He’s not doing any throwing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s able to get out there and start catching ground balls, and everything he does is underhand.”

The Rangers' plans for Profar is to have him participate in the instructional league and then move to the Arizona Fall League. Profar will not play winter ball.

“Just simulate double plays,” Washington said of Profar’s work Wednesday. “It gets some stuff working a little bit, gets his legs in some type of shape, and (he'll) start a throwing program (eventually).”

Rios back in the lineup: RF Alex Rios returned to the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since aggravating a right ankle injury on a slide into home plate Sunday in Houston.

Rios, who originally hurt the ankle July 19, pinch hit in the 13th inning of Tuesday’s 14-inning win over the Rays.

“He’s day-to-day,” Washington said, “and we’ll see what he can handle.”

The plan for now is to split DH duties between Rios and Shin-Soo Choo, who also is dealing with a sprained ankle. Washington will rotate Daniel Robertson and Jim Adduci in left field. He can also use Mike Carp in left, but Carp will be used mainly at first base, where he's started the last two games.

Rios, 33, cleared waivers last week and could still be moved before the August 31 waiver trade deadline passes. Rios is hitting .293 with four home runs and 16 stolen bases through 112 games this season.

Rotation altered: Washington said after RHP Nick Martinez pitches Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, he will be skipped a start. The Rangers have two days off next week sandwiched around a two-game set against the Miami Marlins.

Washington wants to keep Yu Darvish on his regular four days of rest schedule. So after Darvish pitches Thursday against the Rays, he’ll face the Marlins on August 19 and the Kansas City Royals on August 24.

The Rangers’ starters for the weekend series against the Angels are Martinez on Friday night, Colby Lewis on Saturday and Nick Tepesch for Sunday. After Martinez's start on Friday, he's tentatively scheduled to pitch at Seattle on August 27.

W2W4: Rays at Rangers

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
1:00
PM CT
The Rangers and Rays begin a four-game series tonight at Globe Life Park.

Here's a preview:

What's up with the Rays? They had a three-game win streak snapped Sunday with a 12-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs. The Rays have played three extra-inning games in the last seven days. Tampa Bay is 13-7 since the All-Star break and 33-18 since June 11, which is the second-best mark in the majors. 3B Evan Longoria is on a 4-for-26 slide with a double and three RBIs. SS Yunel Escobar had a four-game hit streak end Sunday. INF/OF Ben Zobrist has been on a tear. Dating back to June 28, Zobrist is hitting .360 with four home runs, 17 RBIs and 23 walks. When Yu Darvish pitches Thursday, several Rays could have problems. Longoria is .182 and Escobar is .154 against the Rangers ace.

What's up with the Rangers? The Rangers completed a nine-game, 10-day road trip at 3-6. The club broke four-game and two-game losing streaks. Coming home isn't a positive thing for the Rangers. The club has the fewest victories at their home ballpark (21) in the majors. 1B J.P. Arencibia leads the majors with 22 RBIs since the break and is second with seven home runs. In his last 15 games, Arencibia has 18 RBIs. After giving up two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning against the New York Yankees on July 29, reliever Shawn Tolleson hasn't allowed a run in his last four innings of work.

The battle for last place: The Rangers (46-71) and Colorado Rockies are tied for the worst records in baseball. The Rangers start a seven-game homestand against the Rays and the Rockies begin a three-game road trip in San Diego on Monday night. The Astros (49-69) took two of three from the Rangers and conclude their six-game homestand with three against Minnesota.

The matchups: Monday night: RHP Colby Lewis (8-8, 5.50) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (6-10, 3.98). This is Smyly's second start for the Rays since the David Price trade. Tuesday: RHP Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.46) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61). Wednesday: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-4, 6.57) vs. RHP Chris Archer (7-6, 3.33). Thursday: RHP Yu Darvish (10-7, 3.06) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (8-9, 3.89).

Yu Darvish has a bad night

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
11:16
PM CT
Yu DarvishBob Levey/Getty ImagesYu Darvish threw 113 pitches but wasn't able to get out of the fifth inning against Houston.

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.”

Rapid Reaction: Astros 8, Rangers 3

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
9:46
PM CT

 
HOUSTON -- Yu Darvish just wasn’t himself Saturday night.

He was not the ace the Texas Rangers need him to be every fifth day.

It happens.

But when you’re trying to emerge from the basement of the American League against another team that’s in the same universe, losses like the one the Rangers suffered Saturday -- 8-3 to the Houston Astros -- sting just a little bit more.

As it stands, the Rangers are 45-71, last in the AL and on pace for the No. 1 pick in next summer's draft.

With one game left on this nine-game road trip, the Rangers are 2-6 and have lost nine of their past 11 games on the road.

Darvish (10-7) is the only positive from the pitching staff; on Saturday he struggled to throw his slider for strikes and it appeared he got flustered during his effort.

His teammates didn’t help matters by failing to produce against former teammate Scott Feldman (6-8) until Darvish was gone for the night after failing to get out of the fifth inning.

How it happened: It was slow and ugly. The Astros picked up two runs in the first on RBIs from Jon Singleton and Matt Dominguez. When the first inning ended, Darvish had thrown 31 pitches.

The fifth is when Darvish just lost everything. He loaded the bases and allowed a two-run double by Singleton that landed just fair down the right-field line. Dominguez’s RBI single pushed the lead to 5-0 and Rangers manager Ron Washington had seen enough. Right-hander Nate Adcock entered, marking the second time this season Darvish left a start in the middle of an inning without retiring any hitter in that frame.

What happened to The Yu? Just wasn’t his night. Darvish's slider was missing the lower half of the plate, the Astros weren’t afraid to attack him when he was forced to throw strikes and his pitch count increased in a hurry. He threw 31 in the first and was at 90 to start the fifth inning. When it was over, he had thrown 113 pitches, marking the third consecutive outing he’s thrown at least 100. Not counting the rain-shortened effort July 23 at the New York Yankees, where he was credited with a complete game after pitching 4⅓ innings, this was Darvish’s shortest outing since July 4 against the New York Mets.

What’s interesting about Darvish is that while people talk about his record against the Oakland Athletics (0-2, 6.91 ERA), he’s now 0-2 with a no-decision against the Astros this season. He’s given up 12 runs in 18 innings of work.

The last chance for the Rangers: Trailing 7-2 heading into the seventh, the Rangers had one final shot to make a game of it. Texas loaded the bases, which forced Astros manager Bo Porter to pull Feldman in favor of right-hander Josh Fields. Elvis Andrus drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center. Daniel Robertson struck out to end the inning with the Rangers having scored just one.

Carp gets caught: Newly acquired outfielder/first baseman Mike Carp lasted just three innings before leaving the game with a left groin strain. He's listed as day-to-day. Carp struck out twice and is now 1-for-14 in his past eight games between Boston and Texas. Robertson replaced him in left field.

What’s next? The Rangers can’t win the series, but to avoid a sweep they’re going with right-hander Nick Martinez (1-8, 5.31 ERA) against lefty Dallas Keuchel (10-7, 2.89).

Colby Lewis continues audition for 2015

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
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Colby LewisPeter Llewellyn/USA TODAY SportsColby Lewis, who will be a free agent when the season ends, hopes to stay with the Rangers.
The pitching rotation for the Texas Rangers in 2015 is Yu Darvish and the return of Derek Holland.

There are too many ifs after that.

What about this young pitcher?

What if this pitcher comes back from injury?

Who’s out there in free agency?

And there’s Colby Lewis.

He turned 35 over the weekend and spent the day in Cleveland most likely celebrating quietly and thinking about his future.

The next two months of the season are auditions for Lewis and he takes the stage Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

His future was in doubt last year as he recovered from right hip resurfacing surgery and the removal of bone spurs in his right elbow.

There were fears he would not return.

“I lay in bed and (my) wife and I talk about the future and see how things go,” said Lewis, who becomes a free agent when the season ends. “I’m a day-to-day guy. We’ll see how the season winds up and we’ll see what the future brings. I’m a Ranger at heart. I want to be here. I really, really feel we can work something out. I want to come back and hopefully we can.”

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W2W4: Rangers at Indians

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
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The Rangers begin a nine-game in 10-day road trip starting in Cleveland on Friday night.

Here's our preview of the series.

What’s up with the Indians? The Tribe is 6-7 in the second half of the season and has lost five of its last seven games. Cleveland has 31 home games remaining, most in the majors. OF David Murphy played with the Rangers from 2007 to 2013 and in four games against his former club, he’s 6-of-15 with three doubles. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall is batting .312/.380/.478. CF Michael Brantley leads the Indians in RBIs (65) and is second in OBP (.374). The Indians traded opening day starter Justin Masterson to St. Louis the day before the non-waiver trade deadline and starting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to Washington on the day of the trading deadline.

What’s up with the Rangers? The Rangers are coming off a series win for the first time since the end of June after taking two-of-three from the New York Yankees. It’s the first winning series since June 27-29 over Minnesota. The Rangers finished July at 6-20 and hope to begin August on a better note. Adrian Beltre finished the completed six-game homestand 8-for-24 with five RBIs, five runs and two walks. Neftali Feliz regained the closer's role after Joakim Soria was traded and Feliz has converted all three of his save opportunities.

The trading season continues: The Rangers didn't trade RF Alex Rios or LHP Neal Cotts before Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. But starting August 1 teams can begin sending players through waivers and if that particular player clears, he can be dealt. It's how Rios was acquired last season from the Chicago White Sox. The Rangers are open to keeping both players but could send Rios through to see if anything is out there.

Darvish vs. Cleveland: Staff ace Yu Darvish is 1-2 in three starts against the Indians with 30 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched. Nick Swisher is 1-of-7 lifetime against Darvish with five strikeouts. This is the sixth time Darvish will pitch on five days rest. He’s 3-1 with a no-decision when that occurs. In his only meeting against the Indians, June 6 in Arlington, he earned the win on four-days rest, while allowing four runs on nine hits. He struck out eight but allowed two home runs.

Who pitches? Friday night: RHP Jerome Williams (2-4, 5.53) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (3-4, 4.96). Saturday night: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-3, 8.54) vs. LHP TJ House (1-2, 4.50). Sunday RHP Darvish (10-6, 2.90) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (4-5, 3.93).

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.322 17 64 64
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 64
RA. Beltre 64
OPSA. Beltre .876
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182