Can there be life after Darvish? Whether we want to admit it or not, Darvish is out for the season.
For a team that had hopes (misplaced hopes perhaps, but hopes) of contending this season after finishing with the worst record in the American Leauge last season, this is pretty devistating news.
But does it have to be a lost season?
Remember, Darvish didn’t pitch last year after August 9, and the Rangers had their best run of the season in September without Darvish in their rotation. (And without Washington in the dugout.)
No, this team is not better off without Darvish, that would be preposterous to say.
What I am saying is, it’s been proven this team can with without him.
New Rangers manager Jeff Banister, ever the optimist, reminded everyone that the Giants won last season without its ace Matt Cain, and the Cardinals won in 2011 without its ace Adam Wainwright. Overlooked in that argument is both those teams had much stronger overall rotations, and were a much more solid team offensively up and down the lineup.
But, the point is, this team can win without Darvish because it already has proven that it can.
I have said a number of times over the winter when discussing the Rangers rotation, you couldn’t really count on Darvish anyway, because he was injured, and until he proves he isn’t injured, he’s injured.
Turns out, he’s injured.
I am not a team doctor, I am not in the front office. But I never blindly assumed Darvish would be healthy enough. Hope and finger crossing are not very reliable talent evaluation tools for a front office.
Why is everybody so surprised and shocked by this news? Darvish was damaged goods heading into the season. This one was staring everybody right in the face.
But, since there is a season to be played, we have to look at it this way. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Teams can win in spite of losing their ace. It just requires having a second ace, or reasonable facsimile.
Like Derek Holland.
Look at how he pitched when he came back from the DL last season, starts against teams that were fighting for their playoff lives, and it’s easy to see another ace out there.
He pitched better than Darvish, if truth be told.
But here is the kicker. The key here, and really the key to this entire season not being totally lost for the second year in a row, is Derek Holland.
Or, to be more precise, Derek Holland shoulder. There are dark clouds over that, as well. Holland is, as front offices like to say, being evaluated strictly for precautionary measures.
In other words, he, too, is injured.
Rarely does a fighter fall after just one hit. Usually it takes the perverbial one-two punch. The Rangers have just received the blow to the gut. Maybe this team can pull itself off the matt.
But now we hold our breath that the fatal blow to the head isn’t about to be landed.
No need to worry. It’s just his shoulder. His pitching shoulder. What pitcher needs a pitching shoulder?
We took the right jab. Be prepared for the left hook. Hope it doesn’t come, but be prepared.