This game probably turned out like just about every knowledgeable A’s fan expected, Yu Darvish did his thing, like only Yu Darvish can. The guy is a freak, he features just about every pitch shy of a knuckle ball or an eephus pitch, and he pitched the entire game today from the stretch because his full windup mechanics weren’t in sync. I was excited to see him pitch today, even though I knew it would most likely be in defeating the A’s. They managed to scratch out a single run in the first against Darvish and that pretty much was it with the bats for tonight.
TURNING POINT: Tommy Milone pretty much endeared himself to the world tonight, given we omit the 4th inning from his record. Josh Hamilton led off the inning with a single and just like that Adrian Beltre smacked a ball into the right field bleachers from one knee. Milone very well could have limited the damage to just the 2 runs, but a single and a walk, then a passed ball by Anthony Recker set the table for the Rangers to put the game out of reach. Josh Donaldson (In for the probably DL bound Brandon Inge) hesitated for just a moment too long allowing Craig Gentry AKA the Rangers’ answer to Usain Bolt to reach first, driving in Nelson Cruz. Elvis Andrus topped off the inning with an RBI single to put the game at it’s eventual final score of 4-1.
ON THE HILL: Milone’s line for the day won’t look especially inspiring, but it really wasn’t too bad aside from the disastrous 4th inning. He lasted 7 innings, giving up 9 hits, 4 ER, struck out 4, and walked just 1. Many A’s fans feared that his road troubles would be amplified in Arlington and he managed to keep those fears to a minimum today. Pedro Figueroa came in for the 8th inning, he walked a batter but skated through the rest unscathed. All things considered, giving up 4 runs to the Texas Rangers in their park can’t be frowned upon.
AT THE PLATE: Yu Darvish did his best to neutralize the bats for the A’s today. The lone bright spot was the fact that Jemile Weeks did his best to kick start the A’s offense from the top of the lineup, collecting 2 hits and a walk, also scoring the A’s only run of the night. His AVG for the season skyrocketed to .210, probably buying him a couple days above the Mendoza line. Collin Cowgill and Daric Barton were also permitted to reach base via the base hit by Darvish, once each. Despite the lone RBI today, Josh Reddick struck out 3 times, as he told Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group, “He dominated the hell out of me.”
FINAL THOUGHTS: Yu Darvish has taken MLB by storm as a “rookie” and the A’s learned the hard way just why that is happening. What can you do? Not much can be said beyond that. The A’s move on to face the much more conventional starter in lefty Matt Harrison (4-3, 5.23 ERA), Brandon McCarthy (3-3, 2.56 ERA) takes the mound for the A’s after his dominant performance against the Detroit Tigers last Saturday. It’s another quick turnaround series, an 11:05 AM PST first pitch, so maybe the A’s bats can wake up in time for the series finale. Not to look too far ahead, but round 1 of the Bay Bridge Series looms just 48 hours away as the A’s will head to San Francisco Friday night, it is going to be a great weekend of baseball.