MLB Team Report - Texas Rangers - INSIDE PITCH
Just as the heat in Texas is starting to become unbearable, righty Yu Darvish has ended his own personal drought.
He did it by once again discovering his fastball.
Relying more heavily on his fastball than at any point this season, Darvish fired 6 2/3 shutout innings against Cincinnati Sunday in a 3-2 win. It was his first win since beating Detroit's Justin Verlander on May 16 while throwing 130 pitches. In the seven starts between, he actually threw a handful more breaking and off-speed pitches than fastballs and cutters.
It raised concerns that either Darvish had lost confidence in the fastball or that he had simply fallen into a pattern of trying to trick people.
Hogwash, Darvish said. Or at least, that's the word he would have used if there was such a word in Japanese.
"I just wanted to shut all the people up who are talking about my fastball," Darvish said through an interpreter after the game.
On Sunday, Darvish threw 84 two-seam, four-seam and cut fastballs among his 117 pitches. It was his highest fastball count of the season. The 71.8 percent mix of fastballs was a drastic change from his previous seven starts. He went winless in that stretch.
"I had really good control and it had a lot of power, so overall it was really good," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I changed a little bit of my delivery and also my condition. Physically I felt really good today, so I thought I had a lot of power in my four-seam."
It may have also helped that Darvish, who ran his record to 8-3, had already seen the Reds this year in spring training and had fed them a heavy dose of breaking pitches then. He and catcher Geovany Soto thought it better to lead with the fastball this time around. Darvish threw strikes with 53 of the 84 fastballs, a solid 63.1 strike percentage. By doing that, he got ahead of hitters and his willingness to throw fastballs made Cincinnati hitters unable to simply sit back and wait on sliders.
"I thought he was as good as he's been (with fastball command)," Soto said. "He kept pounding the fastball and used the off-speed stuff only when he needed to. It was working and there was no reason to change it."
Said manager Ron Washington: "The performance was good. He looked like Darvish to me. He threw some fastballs in breaking ball counts, but he also threw some breaking balls in fastball counts. He kept them off balance."
MLB Team Report - Texas Rangers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won one
PAST 10 GAMES: 8-2
NEXT: Tuesday -- Mariners (Joe Saunders, 5-8, 4.98) at Rangers (Justin Grimm, 7-5, 5.56)
--DH Lance Berkman (sore right knee) was held out of the Texas lineup for a fifth consecutive game on Sunday. Berkman said before the game that he expected to return on Tuesday vs. Seattle.
--RHP Justin Grimm is scheduled to make his third start of the season against the Mariners on Tuesday. Grimm is 2-0 in his starts against the Mariners and the Rangers are 3-0 overall. Grimm has thrown at least five innings in four consecutive starts and Texas is 3-1 during that stretch.
--OF Leonys Martin tied the Rangers' season-high hitting streak by extending his to a career-high 14 games in the fifth.
--RHP Yu Darvish notched his first win in eight tries after helping down the Reds 3-2 on Sunday. Darvish struck out eight in giving up four hits, but did not allow an earned run for the first time since June 2.
--RHP Joe Nathan converted on his 11th consecutive save opportunity on Sunday. The save was his 27th of the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "His performance was good today. He was up against a good starter (Mat Latos) on the other side. Once he got some runs, he did his job and kept them off the board." -- Rangers manager Ron Washington, of RHP Yu Darvish.
MLB Team Report - Texas Rangers - ROSTER REPORT
--DH Lance Berkman (soreness) was held out of the Texas lineup for a fifth consecutive game on June 30.
--RHP Alexi Ogando (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list June 9. He was out May 16-June 4 due to right biceps tendinitis. He began throwing June 14. He threw 40 pitches off a mound June 25 and threw on flat ground June 27. He threw a bullpen session June 28 in Texas. He will throw live batting practice on July 3 and then could begin a rehab assignment.
--RHP Colby Lewis (right flexor tendon surgery in July 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 6. He began throwing live batting practice April 8, and he pitched in extended spring training May 4. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on May 9, but his rehab was then shut down due to triceps soreness. Lewis began a new rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on May 20, and he started for Round Rock on May 25. On May 28 the team shut him down due to muscular soreness in the back of his right elbow. He was given a platelet-rich-plasma injection. He threw a bullpen session June 17. He did some long-tossing June 25 in Arlington. He threw another bullpen session on June 28. He is expected to throw another on July 2, but there is no time set for him to re-start a rehab assignment.
--INF Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He hit off a tee on June 25 for the first time since going on the DL. Baker stopped swinging a bat on June 30 after renewed soreness in his thumb. There is no timetable for when he will resume.
--OF Craig Gentry (fractured left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 21.
--RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 9. He began throwing live batting practice April 8. Soria suffered a setback in his recovery when he strained a muscle in his chest throwing live batting practice April 19. He began a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on June 20, and he pitched in the rookie-level Arizona League on June 26. He moved to Triple-A Round Rock on June 28.
--LHP Michael Kirkman (recurrence of cutaneous lymphoma on right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 7, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 12. The cancer, which will be treated with radiation sessions, was found during a routine screening in May by Rangers doctors. He was first diagnosed with skin cancer in the same area in January 2012.
--LHP Matt Harrison (lower-back soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 25. He had surgery April 23 to repair a herniated disk. He underwent a second operation May 1. He was playing catch from flat ground as of June 18 and is shooting for an August return.
--RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery in August 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list March 24. He has started throwing off a mound in Arizona. Feliz will throw his third bullpen session June 26 but will only throw fastballs. He is not expected to return until after the All-Star break.
RHP Yu Darvish
LHP Derek Holland
RHP Nick Tepesch
RHP Justin Grimm
LHP Martin Perez
RHP Joe Nathan (closer)
RHP Jason Frasor
RHP Kyle McClellan
LHP Robbie Ross
RHP Tanner Scheppers
LHP Neal Cotts
RHP Ross Wolf
1B Mitch Moreland
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Lance Berkman
INF Jurickson Profar
LF David Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
RF Nelson Cruz
OF Engel Beltre