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.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.
The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.