After a stellar first couple of months as a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball, things haven't been going so well for the Texas Rangers' big off-season acquisition, Japanese sensation Yu Darvish.
Before the Rangers bid millions and millions of dollars to even have the right talk to Darvish, and before they gave him a $60 million contract, the 25-year-old was said to be "different" than any other Japanese starting pitcher who had tried his luck in the United States, none of which have been very successful for a sustained period of time.
He's bigger, stronger, throws harder and just has that swagger that doesn't come with the typical Japanese pitcher. And all of that has proven true, but even still, he's starting to look more and more like Daisuke Matsuzaka, the last big-name Japanese pitcher to make a splash in the States with the Boston Red Sox.
Darvish faced those Red Sox on Monday night in Fenway Park and got shelled, giving up six runs in 6 2/3 innings on a career-high (counting Japan) 11 hits with four walks and nine strikeouts. That brought his ERA over his last six starts to a whopping 7.04 ERA.
"I think overall my pitches have been pretty good, but unfortunately I'm giving up base hits on hits that weren't hit too hard," Darvish told the media through interpreter Joe Furukawa. "Maybe giving up an extra-base hit [in the] part of the game when I shouldn't. I think it's just a combination of a lot of different things that aren't going my way right now.
"I think for anybody, you know, when things don't go their way for a period of time, I think it's natural that you feel frustrated. I think that a lot of players go through this during the year. I think at that time, it's important for me to not break, stay focused, and prepare well for each start. I think I just have to bear down and grind it out."
With the way the Rangers' pitching staff is going right now (Scott Feldman has been the most solid over the past month) the team definitely needs Darvish to snap out of this funk. Or maybe, just maybe, this is what Darvish is and will be, and that would be catastrophic considering what the Rangers paid and gave up (C.J. Wilson) for him.