ARLINGTON, Texas – Yu Darvish was far from perfect Sunday, but was still good enough to get a win.
Darvish left his start against the Angels after five innings because the skin on his right (throwing hand) ring finger began to peel off. It’s the same ailment that bothered Darvish in his previous start in Houston, when he retired the first 26 batters before losing a bid for a perfect game.
“I didn’t have everything today,” Darvish said through a translator. “It wasn’t my 100 percent, but I had to grind it out.”
Darvish showed he was not in perfect form from the start. He walked Mike Trout to lead off the game and then hit Erick Aybar with a pitch.
The Angels scored two runs on Darvish in a 22-pitch first inning, one on a double play ground-out and another on a hit by Mark Trumbo.
At that point, it wasn’t the skin on his finger that was affecting Darvish.
“I just think he was amped,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “But after that first inning he began to get better and better with his command.”
Darvish struck out two batters in each of the next two innings. He didn’t give up another run until the fifth inning but didn’t return for the sixth with the Rangers holding a 4-3 lead. The Rangers went on to post a 7-3 win.
Both Darvish and Washington said the finger issue shouldn’t affect Darvish’s ability to make his next start, which would be Friday in Seattle. Sunday’s early exit was a precautionary move.
“I didn’t notice it [the finger problem] until the fifth,” Washington said. “After the fifth inning, I went down there just to check on him, to see how he was feeling. I said, ‘Let me see your hand’ and I saw it started peeling. So we just shut it down right there.”
Darvish threw 85 pitches, 50 for strikes, and said he was forced to rely on his two-seam fastball and split-finger more than usual.
“I had trouble with my control today,” Darvish said. “I had to make the best of the situation and select the pitches that I could throw and get outs with.”
On a gusty night at Rangers Ballpark, Darvish said the wind may have been one of the factors affecting his pitches. He had just one inning when he faced the minimum and gave up six hits and four walks. He also struck out six.
Darvish didn’t want to talk about how the issue with the skin on his finger developed, but it is a condition he has dealt with before.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect my start next time,” Darvish said. “There’s not much special treatment that you can [use to] treat this, I just have to be careful when I pitch.”