Darvish didn’t sleep very well on Saturday night,
“Last night when I went to bed, I was very scared I was going to wake up with a neck injury, I probably woke up 20 times.”
Darvish had every reason to have nightmares the way his team’s season has been plagued with injuries. He is the only originally planned starting pitcher still in the rotation who isn’t out for the season or at least the foreseeable future. A stiff neck even had Darvish on the disabled list to start the season. Plus there is the fact that teammate Prince Fielder is out, having season ending neck surgery.
As if things couldn’t possibly get worse for Texas both outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and Mitch Moreland were given a much needed day of rest but Michael Choice who was supposed to replace Choo was a late scratch with a shin bruise. In his stead Rangers’ outfielder David Robertson played left field wearing a plastic mask to protect his multiple facial fractures and Donnie Murphy got the start at first base for the very first time in his career.
The Ranger’s season has seemed to be just one disastrous day after another with their stars going down with injury. Thankfully Darvish was on his game Sunday. Manager Ron Washington told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan,
“Today was about pitching, and Yu did that. He gave us a chance to scratch some runs. Today, it was about getting that one run. We just needed Yu to pitch well, and he pitched well. We didn’t need shutout baseball, but he couldn’t give up a lot of runs. We needed a well-pitched ballgame.”
Washington may not have needed shutout baseball but that is what he got Sunday. Darvish woke up Sunday morning feeling fine besides maybe suffering from lack of sleep. If the Ranger’s ace was tired you couldn’t tell. He shutout the Nationals for eight innings, allowing his team to win by scoring just two runs. Darvish allowed just five hits, two walks and fanned 12 Nationals’ batters. Joakim Soria pitched the ninth, retiring the side.
“I was able to go deep in the game and contribute to the win, so I was very glad,” Darvish said. “I got a little tired, but I was able to do my job.”
He did his job very well against a team that had been clobbering the Rangers the past two games. Nationals’ first baseman Adam LaRoche said,
“We just caught a really good pitcher on a day when he had really good stuff. I know we chased some pitches, but overall, he wasn’t leaving anything over the middle of the plate. He was painting corners. We were just struggling to put the ball in play on some of these pitches.”
The Ranger’s two runs came on a homer by Leonys Martin off National’s starter Tanner Roark in the seventh inning and a run-scoring single by Murphy in the eighth inning. The injured Rangers hobbled back to Texas on a winning note and having a winning road trip taking seven out of the 11 games they played.