I know this is late, but the schedule has not allowed me to write anything until tonight.
I witnessed one of the most dominating pitching performances I’ve ever seen on Tuesday night. Yes, we should probably take into consideration that it was against one of the worst hitting teams in baseball, but the Astros had scored 8 runs the night before on our #1 starter. Yu Darvish was devastating. These were major league hitters. They play on a major league team. And he made them look like rookie league players in pretty much every at-bat. There wasn’t even a point where I thought that a single batter might have an advantage on him. He struck out the side twice, and struck out more batters than he didn’t (14 K’s total). The movement on his pitches was stunning. I found myself just mesmerized pretty much the whole time he was on the mound. That’s really all I have to say about it. I really thought he was going to get the perfect game. I really did. Maybe he’ll get another shot (especially with the Astros in the division now–ba dum dum chh). Either way, it was one of the best pitching performances I’ve ever seen. I really have some optimism about Darvish going into the rest of the season, and my prediction that he’ll win 20 games sure looks good right now.
And then Alexi Ogando went out yesterday and pitched another gem. He went 6 1/3, gave up only 4 hits, walked 1 and struck out 10. I only got to see the first 5 innings or so, but again, his performance was quite dominating. It was as good a first start that he could have hoped for coming back from the bullpen. It reminded me of how good he was at the beginning of the season the last time they tried him out in the rotation.
In the three games against the Astros, Rangers pitchers struck out 43 batters. That’s 46% of the batters they faced. Almost 1 in 2. That’s a phenomenal strike out rate and one I’m sure they won’t hold the whole season. But it’s still nice to see good pitching to start the year, even if it is against the Astros.
This weekend will be a much different test. A much better team will be on the other side of the diamond, but the Rangers also get them in Arlington. Derek Holland will get his first start of the season against Jason Vargas. Then Matt Harrison throws again, while Tommy Hanson will get his first start for the Angels. Sunday is the game I’m really looking forward to. Darvish vs. Weaver. Two aces, who can be wild at times, going head to head. Should be a great game and one I think where Darvish shows that his performance on Tuesday was not a flash in the pan.