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.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.