TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 30: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers walks to the dugout after the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at the Rogers Centre April 30, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
- Well, Yu Darvish finally allowed a home run, his first homer allowed on the year. He also struck out 9, walked 2, allowed 4 hits, and hit a batter. The second of his two walks, to Brett Lawrie, was of the four pitch variety, although the first three pitches of the at bat all showed as strikes according to Gameday and the Fox Pitchtracker. Darvish, for the second start in a row, seemed poised, confident, and in control throughout, and I'm worried that I'm starting to get a little bit spoiled by him.
- In Darvish's first major league inning, he allowed 4 runs. Since then, he's thrown 32 innings and allowed a total of 4 earned runs. That's a 1.12 ERA over that stretch.
- Dave Barnett says that Darvish and Robbie Ross are the first pair of rookie teammates to ever go 4-0 in the month of April. So, that's something.
- Seriously, though. Darvish. He had a three pitch strikeout of Jose Bautista to start off the bottom of the fourth that should be in the Louvre. It is the sequence that needs to be shown to these people who want to compare him to Daisuke Matsuzaka or some other non-relevant-to-the-discussion pitcher. Darvish is like no other pitcher I have ever seen. When his command his on, the closest comparison I can make is Greg Maddux, if you gave Maddux a couple of extra pitches and another 2-3 mph on his fastball. It is a joy to watch him pitch.
- Robbie Ross has pink backpack duty, since he's the rookie on the team. Someone on Twitter asked if Darvish had to carry the backpack, since he was also a rookie. That question got me wondering...what if Neal Cotts had made the team out of spring training, instead of Ross? Who would carry the pink backpack? I think it is supposed to be a reliever, but who in the bullpen would have drawn that job? Alexi Ogando is the least experienced member of the bullpen, but I have a hard time seeing him getting stuck with it. Maybe Darvish, since he's a rookie? Maybe Derek Holland, since he's, you know, Derek Holland? Its a difficult question.
- Against Mitch Moreland in the 8th inning, the Jays did this:
via assets.sbnation.com (thanks to Jeff Sullivan for the screen cap)
- That's the freakiest shift I've ever seen. You've got a "normal" shift like you see teams use with extreme lefty pull hitters, but you've also got the second baseman (or a player who is in the general area where the second baseman would normally be) stationed out in shallow left field, while the right fielder is out in deep right field. Presumably, Moreland's spray chart shows a paucity of slow rollers, and a lot of balls in the air to right. This alignment makes it hard for anything other than a line drive to fall in as a hit to right field. Tampa has garnered a reputation for using some odd shifts, but this is one of the weirder shifts I've seen. Toronto is also, like Tampa, considered to be a pretty smart organization that is on the cutting edge among front offices, so it wouldn't surprise me if this were a pretty effective alignment against Moreland.
- Mitch Moreland has more opposite-field home runs off of LHPs this season as Albert Pujols has home runs this season.
- Craig Gentry also has more home runs this season as Albert Pujols has home runs this season. And Gentry's home run tonight was a shot...I had no idea he could hit the ball that hard, or that far.
- A Brandon Snyder sighting! Snyder pinch-ran for Adrian Beltre tonight in the 9th inning. It is the 8th game he's appeared in this year.
- Beltre was the DH tonight, as the Rangers try to minimize the amount of time he spends on the hard Rogers Centre turf. Josh Hamilton sat today, with his back still giving him problems, and again, given the turf and the need to keep Hamilton and Beltre healthy throughout the 162 game season, I wouldn't be shocked if neither player actually played in the field the next two days. Beltre's half-day off, meanwhile, was a productive one, as Beltre went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles.
- Elvis Andrus also had a big double in the third to drive home Ian Kinsler with the Rangers' second run of the game, and he's continuing to have really good at bats and drive the ball with authority. Elvis is hitting just .264 right now, and coming into today, his OPS was 694, but if he keeps having these sorts of ABs, both numbers are going to jump up.