Yes, Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish was awful in his start against the A's last week, that can't be argued.
But on Monday night in his start against a good Pittsburgh Pirates team and a strong lineup, Darvish might have had his best start of the year and his teammates couldn't do anything to help him.
Darvish had his third 1-0 loss of the season against Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole, accomplishing something that hasn't been done in baseball in 40 years — not exactly the feat you shoot for as a pitcher.
Darvish fell to 12-8 and saw his ERA drop five points to 2.84 after the start that saw him forced from the game after seven innings and just 81 pitches due to leg cramps. The injury wasn't considered serious, and Darvish is in line to make his next start this weekend when the A's come to town.
To stretch the offensive futility out over a more extended period of time, in Darvish's last 19 starts, the Rangers have scored just 40 runs, a number that's simply unacceptable and has to be getting on Darvish's nerves.
There were several positives to take from Darvish's outing against a patient hitting lineup on Monday. His 81 pitches through seven innings was spectacular. He didn't try to get too cute or nibble around the plate and get strikeouts. He attacked, threw strikes and trusted his defense, which was good.
In fact, his defense has been good behind him all year, as he's surrendered only two unearned runs all season. He should use that trust and pitch more like he did on Monday, when he could've easily gone the distance, for the rest of the season.