Yu Darvish: that’s not what an ace looks like

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The Rangers have a decent lead on the Angels in the AL West, but their putative ace has some issues. Indeed, Yu Darvish has stunk on ice lately.

Darvish allowed six runs on 11 hits and walked four in six and two-thirds last night, losing to the Sox. In five starts since the All-Star break, the Darvish has posted a 7.76 ERA and has walked 21 batters in 31 innings. He’s 1-4 in that time. Control is an issue for sure, but even his strikes have problems, says manager Ron Washington:

“They popped the ball around the ballpark pretty good,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Yu threw a lot of strikes and when he put them in the strike zone, they didn’t miss them.”

A five game lead allows some room for that to get straightened out, but the Rangers will definitely want to see Darvish round back into first-half form before October rolls around.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.