ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Manager Ron Washington (R) and pitching coach Mike Maddux of the Texas Rangers gesture towards the dugout as starting pitcher Yu Darvish #11 talks with translator Joe Furukawa in the top of the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during the American League Wild Card playoff game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 5, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Before we get started, let's just get something out of the way here: Yu Darvish is the Texas Rangers' ace, and there really shouldn't even be any debate on the subject.
With that said, Darvish was not an ace on Wednesday. By definition, an ace should be counted on to win a game a team needs to win, and should be able to do so when things aren't going the offense's way.
On Wednesday, Darvish was just awful, and there's really no other way to say it. He tied his season-low with five innings pitched, tied his season-low with four strikeouts and walked a season-high six, tying a career-high, while giving up five hits. Those numbers aren't going to win many games, and they sure didn't on Wednesday in the rubber match of a three-game set with Oakland that allowed the A's to pull into a tie for first place in the AL West with 23 games remaining.
Darvish fell to 1-5 in his career against the A's, and while doing so appeared to show up both his catcher and his pitching coach in separate visits to the mound to try to calm the struggling ace.
"When you're competing, you can't put a certain feeling on something you see out there," Ron Washington said of an apparent heated exchange between Darvish and veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "People are competing. I thought nothing of it myself."