HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 12: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 12, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It all started over the weekend when Yu Darvish failed to execute a shutdown inning against the Chicago White Sox in a game the Texas Rangers eventually lost.
Darvish finished the game with a good line but when staked with a 2-0 lead, he immediately coughed it up in the following half-inning and the Rangers went on to lose.
Then came the assessment from Rangers radio broadcaster Eric Nadel: "He's not a good winner."
It was shocking to hear a team's own broadcast guy say that about the team's best pitcher, one that leads all of baseball in strikeouts and is in the conversation for the American League Cy Young award, but the words had more truth to them than many enraged Rangers fans might think.
Darvish has had trouble holding on to leads late in his starts this season. His numbers are great, but he's lost a handful of games this year when his offense didn't have it — something an ace is supposed to overcome, and that's the point Nadel was trying to make.
Darvish, however, doesn't seem himself as an "ace" and doesn't even really know what an "ace" is.
“I think we all should have the same goal,” said Darvish through a translator to The Dallas Morning News. “I think we all want to win, and I think we all want to win as a unit. That’s what matters.”
Even with his gaudy stats (second in AL in ERA and opponent batting average, leader in strikeouts), the Rangers are just 14-11 in his starts, which isn't really becoming of an ace. He has the stuff to be one, now he just needs to put his team on his back like one.