ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 14, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers have to clinch the AL West so they can assure themselves of playing in an ALDS series and not being stuck in the one-game wild card playoff on Friday. But even though nothing has been settled yet, except for the fact the Rangers will at worst be a wild card team, team president Nolan Ryan made his intentions known as to who would start the opening game of a playoff series.
And it's right in line with our thoughts, as he said on Monday he would like to see Yu Darvish as the team's No. 1 starter.
Make no mistake, the pitching rotation is ultimately set by Rangers manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux, but there's no doubt Ryan has some pull in the organization, especially when it comes to the pitching staff. And Darvish is a wonderful choice for the pressure-packed status of starting Game 1 of any series.
"It would have to be Yu," Ryan told ESPN 103.3 FM. "I just think that he's throwing better than our two left-handers. He's more consistent. He's got more variety of pitches that he can show a hitter and he just seems to enjoy those situations and has stepped up in those kind of games, and I really believe that's probably the way to go."
He's right. He's gone at least 6 2/3 innings in his previous nine starts, has his ERA down below 4.00, has 221 strikeouts and has really cut down on what had plagued him throughout the season over his last seven starts — walks. It's pretty simple, he has ace stuff. The only other person on the Rangers staff who can say that is Derek Holland, who is wildly inconsistent.
Ryan also told the radio station that he's frankly been disappointed in the consistency of his left-handers in Holland and Matt Harrison, who starts tonight's possible division-clincher.
"I'll have to admit that our starting pitching hasn't been what we've been hoping for in September ... with the inconsistency of it," Ryan said. "We'll just have to hope that our left-handers, because we know they're very capable of pitching outstanding games, that they come in and are able to do that. If we can get Harrison and Holland to throw the games they're capable of throwing, we'll be all right."