Yu Darvish turned in his best start since April on Tuesday, blanking the Rays for seven innings and striking out 10 as the Rangers won 1-0.
It was Darvish’s third straight quality start, but also the first time since July 21 that he’s ended a start without allowing at least three runs. Darvish went without giving up a run for the second time as a big leaguer; he pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Yankees on April 24.
James Shields was the hard-luck loser for the Rays tonight, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings. He struck out eight while falling to 12-8.
Darvish reached double figures in strikeouts for the eighth time this year. R.A. Dickey is second in the majors with six such games. Felix Hernandez, Shields and Stephen Strasburg have five such games.
While Darvish has been inconsistent in amassing a 4.31 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, he is 13-9 and the Rangers have gone 15-9 in his starts. The postseason will likely determine whether his rookie campaign is viewed as a disappointment or not.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.