Top Ten Moment #3, Part 2. 17 comments


Yesterday, I recounted Top Ten Moment #3 of the Rangers 2017 season, the game when Adrian Beltre moved the on-deck circle. It was the game they took a 22-10 pounding at the hands of the Miami Marlins. More significantly, it was the last start in a Rangers uniform for Yu Darvish. He ended his season with the Rangers pretty much as he ended his season with the Dodgers, getting lit up. Anticipating it would be his last Texas start, here is what I wrote after that game, reposted from July 27, 2017.


On August 9, 2014, after an 8-3 loss to the Houston Astros, the Texas Rangers fell to 45-71, a .388 winning percentage.

From that point on, the Rangers played their best stretch of baseball all season, going 21-24 (three games under, like they are currently), playing at a much-improved .467 pace.

August 9, 2014, by the way, was the day they lost Yu Darvish for the season. Instead of falling apart, they played better.

There is life after Yu.

Last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Clayton Kershaw at the end of June for ten weeks. At the time, they were in second place, at 41-36. In Kershaw’s absence, the Dodgers played their best baseball of the season, going 38-25, and soaring into first place.

There is life after you lose your ace. Sometimes the rest of the team steps up. Sometimes you discover someone you never thought could do it. But mostly you realize: maybe baseball is a team sport and often a team can overcome the loss of a key player.  (See Houston Astros, 2017.)

Will the 2017 Rangers miss Darvish?

Put it this way: Yu has started 22 games for the Rangers this season. They are 9-13 in those games. Here is how he stacks up to other Rangers starters in terms of team won-loss winning percentage and record when each one starts:

.750, 6-2, in A.J. Griffin starts.
.772, 4-3, in Tyson Ross starts.
.545, 6-5, in Cole Cole Hamels starts.
.438, 7-9, in Andrew Cashner starts.
.409, 9-12, in Yu Darvish starts.
.400, 2-3, in Austin Bibens-Dirkz starts.
.368, 7-12, in Martin Perez starts.

So, is this implying that Yu Darvish is the fifth best starter in the Rangers rotation? Not at all. That would be crazy talk.

What it is suggesting is, though, is the Rangers tend to not win when he starts. So, if you are one who is still thinking this team is a shoo-in for the World Series and that trading away Darvish destroys all chances of making the playoffs, the numbers suggest otherwise. Maybe, just maybe, they will play better.

And in the unlikely even that happens, it is, however, entirely possible to lose that wild card game without Darvish. Like the Rangers lost that playoff game last year with him. And the last six playoff games with him.

There is life after Yu.

And hopefully a stronger farm system.