Yu Darvish is reaching an interesting point in his young career in Texas.
With the All-Star break approaching, temperatures in Texas will rise and the battle for the division crown will make every series important.
There should be a little concern, but it definitely isn’t time to panic. Darvish has struggled with consistency, but when at his best, he has been brilliant.
It seems the heavier pitching load is having an effect on Darvish so far. He pitched once after every five days of rest in Japan, whereas in the U.S. he loses that extra day by getting the ball after four days. That is probably why he seemed like a different pitcher against the Astros when he received some extra rest.
It will be interesting to see how Darvish handles some of the other challenges he will face the rest of the season. As mentioned earlier, the heat in Texas is something he is not accustomed to and will require some adjustment on his part.
Also, after making 13 starts, Darvish does not really have the upper hand on hitters—particularly those in the AL West—who have not faced him that often.
Luckily for the Rangers, they have been receiving consistent, solid outings from Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison.
Plus, as Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reports, they have Roy Oswalt nearing his debut.
This keeps substantial pressure off Darvish and allows him to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy for the time being. In this role, his main objective is improving each start until he becomes the pitcher Texas believes he can be.
Struggles are part of the game, and it is important for people to remember that Darvish is a rookie who is still adapting to a new league, a new country and a new style of baseball.
When Darvish puts everything together, he will add another weapon to an already strong team.