The Texas Rangers lost to the Cleveland Indians Monday night in front of a sell-out crowd by the score of 8-5. There were several things to take note of during this contest but perhaps the most notable were the Struggles of Yu Darvish, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson.
On paper Yu Darvish wasn’t terrible pitching 6 and 1/3 innings giving up just four earned runs. Little seemed to go right though for Darvish who threw just 55 strikes (56.7%) out of his 97 pitches on the night. That lack of control translated into five walks, one of whom scored. For his career, Darvish averages 64.9% strikes per game which is why Monday night was so unlike him.
The Rangers need Darvish to be their ace this year and many people inside and outside the organization believe he can be just that. Tonight is just one game and while not ideal; the Rangers will hope this is simply an aberration rather than a continuance of the same woes that dogged Darvish in the post-season last year.
Matt Bush was the second Ranger pitcher who was simply unlike himself on this season opening night. Bush came out nowhere last year to pitch 61 and 2/3 innings with an ERA of 2.48 and a WHIP of 0.941. Coming in to this season Bush is expected to be a key late inning reliever who will often be counted on as a bridge between the starting pitcher and closer.
Tonight, manager Jeff Banister asked him to do just that. Bush was fine in his first inning of work recording two scary outs, but outs none the less. However in the eighth inning, Bush hung a slider to Edwin Encarnacion and he did not miss it. It’s not entirely unusual for a reliever to give up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion, but for Matt Bush it certainly is.
As noted by Jared Sandler of 105.3 the Fan in Dallas, Bush gave up just four home runs all of last year.
While there is no reason to panic about Matt Bush giving up a game tying home run to one of the best hitters in baseball, it certainly isn’t heartening to see it happen in the first game.
Finally it was Sam Dyson’s turn to try and keep the ball game tied, and like the pitchers before him, he simply didn’t perform up to the standard level that he has come to be known for. Dyson was lights out in the World Baseball Classic during spring training and that had many Ranger fans excited about what that would mean for his performance during the regular season.
Tonight, however, was not Dyson’s night as he gave up three runs on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning. In 73 appearances last season, Dyson gave up four earned runs just one time. Again this was just an example of a great reliever just not having his stuff when it was needed.
All in all, the Rangers have nothing to worry about. After all, it is just one game in a long season with 161 more games in which they can learn from the mistakes they made tonight. It was unique however to see arguably three of Texas’ best pitchers all struggle on the same night. It certainly was a rarity and may not happen again all year, but tonight it did and the result was an Opening Day loss.