Rangers offer no support for Darvish in shutout loss

ARLINGTON, Texas – How Yu Darvish would bounce back from his 130-pitch outing in his last start was the least of the Texas Rangers concerns Tuesday night.
The Texas offense made sure of that.
One night after getting just six hits in a series-opening loss to Oakland, the Rangers saw that total cut in half by the Athletics as Oakland beat the Rangers 1-0.
The Rangers had just three singles and never got a runner past first base. What makes it remarkable is that the author of seven of those dominant innings was Oakland right-hander Dan Straily, who came into the game with a 7.27 ERA and had been touched for five runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start. That start was against Texas.
But it was a different Straily and a different Texas offense on display Tuesday.
“It seemed like he pitched a great ballgame,” said Texas designated hitter Lance Berkman, who went 0 for 3. “That doesn’t mean we should get shut out. But you have to start there that he was up for the task and he probably knew he was going to have to throw a real low-scoring game to give their team a chance to win and he did that.”
Just like Bartolo Colon did Monday, Straily kept the ball down and hit his spots. The Rangers hit almost nothing. It started with the first inning as Elvis Andrus popped out to second base.
It didn’t get any better as all the Rangers managed was a third-inning single from A.J. Pierzynski, a sixth-inning single from Jurickson Profar and an infield single from Craig Gentry in the eighth.
That was the entire Texas offense.
“He wasn’t as wild with his fastball,” Texas manager Ron Washington said of Straily. “I thought he was able to get his breaking stuff over a little better today. But we just couldn’t string anything together on him.”
Straily, who has struggled with his command, didn’t walk a batter in his seven innings after walking 11 over his last three starts. He also needed just 88 pitches over his seven innings.
As for Darvish, he wasn’t as sharp as he’s been throughout the year but he certainly pitched well enough to win. He allowed just one run – a third-inning homer to Yoenis Cespedes – in his six innings. He struck out five and walked three. He also needed 101 pitches to get through his start, with only 56 for strikes.
Darvish, who hadn’t lost a decision since April 12, said he begged Washington to let him pitch more, but said all the pitch-count talk following his last start doomed his chances of going back out for the seventh.
“It seems like I threw a lot of pitches today, especially balls,” said Darvish. “But I was able to grind and not give up any runs, so overall it was OK. I wanted to keep pitching but I think a lot of you guys, media, talk so much about pitch count that I think he was hurt and he didn’t let me go. So that was the end of my game.”
Having Darvish on the mound is normally a good tonic for the Texas offense. They’ve scored at least seven runs in seven of his starts this season.
But the trio of Straily, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour were having none of that. Instead Darvish took a hard-luck loss at Rangers Ballpark. It’s just the third time he’s ever lost in Arlington. Two of the three have come against Oakland.