Wow. As much as I want to express admiration for Yu Darvish‘s performance on an otherwise nondescript early season Tuesday night, I can’t. Well I can, but man is it hard.
However, at the end of the day, I am a baseball fan, and what Darvish did was great and was very close to being historical. I just wish it did not come against the Astros. But Marwin Gonzalez did make it a little better with his two out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Objectively, Darvish had an unbelievable performance and just dominated the Astros all night.
So let’s get into three things that I liked, and three that I did not like, about tonight’s game.
Three Things I Liked
Yu Darvish’s Almost Perfection: Honestly, how can you not? This early is the season, Darvish was beyond dominant. It was interesting that he pitched out of the stretch the whole night, but nothing appeared to effect him. All you can do is tip your cap to Darvish for a memorable performance as this is a game you will remember watching for a while.
Lucas Harrell’s Solid 2013 Debut: Just because the Rangers ultimately ended up blowing the game open against the Houston bullpen and Darvish was dominant, Harrell should not be forgotten about. He kept the Astros in the game for six innings only giving up one run and forcing two double plays. He followed up Bud Norris‘s win on Sunday with a solid outing. If only the Astros were able to get a baserunner against Darvish before the ninth inning, Harrell could have been the pitcher we were talking about after the game. His power sinker was working and he was able to strikeout four Rangers while allowing six hits and two walks.
Josh Fields‘ Astros Debut: Aside from Harrell the other pitching bright spot for the Astros was the debut of Fields in a Houston uniform. Fields entered the game in the eighth inning and struck out Craig Gentry who was the only batter he faced. It was good to see Fields get his first appearance out of the way.
Three Things I Did Not Like
These Strikeouts are Getting to Be Ridiculous: After striking out thirteen times in a winning effort on Sunday, the Astros struck out fifteen times against Darvish. You have to give a little bit of a pass since Darvish is a strikeout pitcher and it was a unique performance, but between the two games, it seems like this will be an issue all season as Houston has struck out 28 times already in two games. That will be something that holds them back this season. Brett Wallace struck out another three times and Chris Carter fanned twice. These are two players that need to have good years for the Astros for them to be competitive, and to do so they need to make contact.
The Bullpen Did Not Appear to be Strong: Despite Darvish’s best efforts, the Astros were in the game through the first six innings. However, when Harrell came out of the game, the Rangers pulled away and scored six runs to make it a 7-0 game. Harrell could not have done anything more, and the game could have been totally different had the bullpen not imploded. That will be another key to the season.
The Rangers Announcers: Granted Astros fans are not complaining because they at least got to watch the game, but watching the Texas Rangers broadcast was not enjoyable. Not to beleaguer the point, but something needs to get done. Like now.