Yu Darvish relaxed, in command of his pitches
The Rangers' ace saved his best spring start for last, commanding the strike zone with marksmanship in Thursday's 12-1 victory over the Mexico City Rojas Diablos in an exhibition game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Darvish pitched well in Arizona, allowing three runs in 13 ⅔ innings. He was even better Thursday in Arlington. Even he said he could feel it.
"I felt very good throwing today compared to what I did in Arizona," Darvish said through an interpreter. "Compared to last year, where I am right now, I feel very relaxed. I’m glad I was able to do that, to pitch here, before the season started.”
Darvish had seven strikeouts, including three in the second inning, two of them on fastballs and one on a slider. He had two strikeouts in the fourth inning, both on sliders. He also had a good cutter and changeup, pitches Darvish wanted to work on in this final spring start, according to catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
“The pitching sequence I used in the game was pretty much similar to what I’ll be using in the regular season," Darvish said. "I felt really comfortable out there today. And I had really good control.”
Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Thursday's game that Darvish's spring has been all about relaxation and understanding what it takes to pitch in the major leagues. He's leaving the bullpen knowing which pitches he has command of, instead of trying to throw everything in his arsenal.
“His spring is about as good as his finish last year at the end of the season," Washington said. "He threw the ball well. He went out there and used the pitches that he felt worked for him that day. And he was consistent in doing just that."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.