Even though he’s tied for the AL lead in victories with 10, Rangers import Yu Darvish doesn’t feel he’s done enough to represent the league in next month’s All-Star Game.
“But personally do I feel like I’m an All-Star? I don’t think so,” Darvish said through an interpreter Friday. “I’m also hearing that there’s a possibility I might start in an All-Star Game, and to me, that’s totally out of context, I think.”
Since the Rangers went to the World Series last year, Darvish’s manager, Ron Washington, will be in charge of picking the pitching staff. Still, Darvish seems to see the big picture and won’t mind not being picked.
“I think the fact that I’m Japanese, first year over here, the Texas Rangers paid a lot of money for me to come over here,” he said. “The fact that I’m an All-Star candidate, it’s more of a buildup of who I am and where I came from and the media creating this type (of hype).”
Darvish is certainly partly right, but the fact that he is tied for the league lead in wins and fourth in strikeouts would make him an All-Star candidate even if his name was John Smith. Plus, while he has been a bit of a disappointment in the ERA department, he still ranks 16th in the league despite working in a tough park for pitchers.
Still, Darvish certainly seems to mean well here. And by essentially taking himself out of the running, he’s aiding his teammate’s case for a spot: Matt Harrison is 10-3 with a 3.24 ERA, making him deserving of strong consideration.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.