A.J. Pierzynski with starting pitcher Yu Darvish.
Over his last eight starts in 2012, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish seemed to turn the proverbial corner, and pretty much anyone who's asked will have a similar story as to why.
In the previous start in Boston, Darvish got rocked, giving up 11 hits and six runs in just more than six innings and after that game the rookie had a talk waiting for him from his skipper. Rangers manager Ron Washington told him to trust his power more, quit nibbling around hitters because he didn't have to and just go out and pitch like he knew he could.
The rest is history, as Darvish went 5-1 over his final eight starts with a 2.35 ERA, 67 strikeouts, 15 walks and just two home runs allowed — with most of that time coming with Geovany Soto behind the plate as the team's No. 1 catcher.
It was thought that in 2013, even with the acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski, an upgrade over Soto at catcher, that Soto would still catch Darvish due to the seemingly strong bond the two had formed down the stretch in 2012.
That didn't happen, and all seemed good for a while as Darvish stormed out of the gates this year, starting the season with a 7-1 mark, and posting a league-leading strikeout total. But lately, Darvish's lack of efficiency and tendency to give up the long ball have hurt him, and he's now winless in his past seven starts.
The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant suggested the possibility on Wednesday that Darvish and his battery mate might not totally be on the same page when speaking with The Musers on KTCK 1310 The Ticket.
Down that successful stretch in 2012, Darvish was throwing about 70 percent fastballs and cutters and just 30 percent off-speed and breaking balls. Recently, it's been almost the complete opposite.
After Tuesday's game in New York, when Darvish allowed a career-high three home runs in an outing while earning another no-decision, reporters asked Pierzynski about the change of pitches and the veteran catcher simply replied, "You'll have to talk to Yu about that," according to Grant.
This isn't anything to worry about as far as teammates getting along, that's not an issue here. Some pitchers just like throwing to certain catchers. It's been that way for years, and Darvish might just work better with Soto. It'll be interesting to see if Soto gets the nod in Darvish's next start and if he can right the ship that has gone off track in recent outings.