19-Year-Ranger-Fan & Yu
I am ceding my space today to 19-Year-Ranger-Fan, who makes me jealous every day that he now lives in Arlington, Texas, allowing him to attend Rangers games on a regular basis, while his loving father, who gave him life, suffers in silence watching yet another game on Fox Sports Southwest instead of in person with the season tickets his son should have been happy to give him as a gift, not to mention the daily airfare to get there to see them. Ah well. At least I raised him right enough to be a Rangers fan. And I only had to beat him occasionally to get him to be one. Just kidding. Really, I am.
Ok, so I have been to 6 Rangers games this year, so you would think I would have made a special guest appearance sooner than this, but alas I keep going with friends and end up just being a fan and having fun (Note from Dad: Having fun??? This is a serious game. Stop doing that!!! Not really.). However, I did get to go my second Yu Darvish outing last night and I must say…I found him much more impressive than I did in his debut.
Due to traffic and GPS issues, I missed the first batter, which ended up accounting for the A’s only run, but didn’t leave my seat for the rest of the game. I won’t go on and on about how Yu has control of the strike zone. Every sportswriter from here to Frisco is writing about that (Note from Dad: Arlington to Frisco is 47 Miles. We need to improve that.) What I will say is how impressed I am with Darvish in not letting the pressure get to him.
In the first inning he gave up a lead-off hit that bounced off the wall in such a way that Josh Hamilton wasn’t able to field it cleanly, resulting in a double. Darvish then retired the next 3 batters he faced. Unfortunately the 1st two hit the ball well enough to advance the runner, one with a grounder, the other with a sac fly.
The rest of the night Yu was nearly untouchable, giving up only 3 more hits and striking out 7. I have seen pitchers in this league (and even on this team) who would have let that unfortunate bounce get into their head and end up ruining their night, maybe citing that they were unlucky, but Yu makes his own luck and he went after the A’s. Even after allowing a 2nd runner in the 8th, you could tell he thought he could finish the inning.
The Rangers didn’t provide Yu with a ton of run support, all of it coming exclusively in the 4th. It could have actually been a 2-1 game, but 2 runs scored when, instead of tagging Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson attempted to throw out a speedy Craig Gentry. He didn’t succeed, allowing Gentry to net an RBI single instead of being the 3rd out of the inning. And while Josh Hamilton hasn’t hit a homerun this week, he is still being effective in this lineup, getting an absolutely perfectly placed infield grounder to 2nd Baseman Jemile Weeks to set up Adrian Beltre’s 2-run shot.
All in all this was a great night to be at the ballpark, and I was fortunate to be able to spend it with an old friend who I hadn’t seen since I was 8 year old Ranger Fan. If Darvish keeps improving every time I see him start, then this is one fan who thinks he was definitely worth the money (Note from Dad: I concur. Wholeheartedly.).