Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz are going to be key pieces to the Texas Rangers if they are going to go back to the World Series for a third straight season.
And while the Rangers are off to an 8-2 start with neither pitcher taking a loss so far, there's some quiet concern to be shown for the back end of the Rangers' starting rotation. Darvish hasn't made it out of the sixth inning in either of his two starts, and Feliz was thoroughly dominant against the Seattle Mariners, who he's dominated his entire career, before showing signs of mortatlity against the none-too-impressive Minnesota Twins.
Feliz has performed better than expected in his first two starts with a 2.25 ERA and a 1-0 record in his two starts. Darvish is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA, picking up a win in his debut where he struggled mightily early but managed to pitch into the sixth. He's giving up a lot of hits, a lot of hard contact and is also walking quite a few guys, which with a strikeout pitcher is always going to be an issue. Darvish has been pulled before completing an inning in both of his starts, which he avoided in his final 94 starts in Japan, according to the great Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.
Feliz is still working on developing his off-speed secondary pitches, which has come along better than many anticipated.
There's some talk that the Rangers might move Darvish up in the rotation to split up the two left-handers in Holland and Harrison, which would help Harrison tremendously as he'd be a No. 2 talent going up against other teams' No. 4s, but it might put more pressure on Darvish than he already has on his broad shoulders.
There's obviously no need to panic, Rangers fans, as the team is the owner of the best record in the AL but the future performance against tougher opponents from Darvish and Feliz is something to keep in the back of your mind.