In his second Spring Training start Yu Darvish struggled. Rangers’ fans should not start worrying about Darvish…yet. They should remind themselves “It’s only Spring Training”.
Watching the game and looking at the box score there wasn’t anything too alarming, but it was the way in which Darvish got around his mistakes that should cause concern. In the 1st inning he issued back to back walks to the first two Cleveland batters, in which Darvish was not even close to the strike zone. Both were subsequently thrown out by catcher Yorvit Torrealba while trying to steal second. Darvish was later helped in the 3rd inning when Shin-Soo Choo grounded into a double play.
In the end, Darvish pitched 3 innings giving up 3 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks, with 3 strikeouts. He threw more balls than strikes, which is never a good sign. Ultimately he got 4 of his 9 outs through the good play of his defense. The first inning should be the main concern. The Rangers can’t rely on Torrealba to throw out runners every time Darvish gets into trouble. The Indians were running to work on their base stealing, not trying to win the game in the 1st inning, so don’t expect a repeat performance by Torrealba once the regular season starts.
The Rangers and Darvish have some work to do between now and the start of the season if they want their prized off season acquisition to continue to be the dominant pitcher he was for the last 7 years in Japan.