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Texas split the first two games of a three-game series in Houston, and was up 3-0 late in the third game behind a dominating start from Yu Darvish but the Rangers’ generous bullpen gave up two in the eighth and one in the ninth to blow the win. Texas had to score two in the eleventh to earn their sixty-fifth win of the season. The win also moved them to 11-2 on the year against the Astros.


Originally published August 8, 2016.

Yu Darvish was brilliant yesterday.

In the past he has taken perfect games into the ninth. He has had no-hitters going into the eighth. But yesterday he was about as dominating as he’s ever been. He certainly pitched his best game of the season.

He scattered five hits, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out eight. He had everything working, cruising through seven shutout innings.

Cruising being the operative word here.

For the first time in a long time, he had a lead of more than one run.

Nobody could stop him. At least not anyone in the Astros dugout.

Nobody could stop him until he ran into the dreaded Captain Hook in his own dugout, a manager who never met a dominating starting pitcher he couldn’t remove from the middle of a gem.

At just ninety-three pitches, Darvish was not spent. He was not at the end of his rope. He was not out of gas. He was not winded.

He was simply the victim of a manager who never saw a bullpen arm he couldn’t needlessly use. (Just wait until the rosters can expand and he has a thirty-two-man bullpen, he will bring in fresh after every pitch.)

A team win is more important that any personal stats, and luckily the Rangers won the game in eleven innings after giving it away in two. But for Darvish’s psyche, he deserved the win yesterday.

The more you play with fire, the more likely you are to be burned. And Banister has a history of being an arsonist.

He got lucky yesterday.