Rangers starter Yu Darvish brought a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the third time this season, but things quickly started to unravel after the right-hander began the inning with a 2-0 lead. Darvish walked Brian Dozier, then fell behind Chris Herrmann 2-0. He then threw a 91 MPH cutter over the plate, which Herrmann drilled into the stands in right field for a game-tying two-run home run. Then, after going ahead 2-1 in the count, Justin Morneau crushed a solo home run into the upper deck to break the tie. After getting two outs, Darvish surrendered a double to Trevor Plouffe, prompting manager Ron Washington to walk to the mound to call on reliever Neal Cotts.
Overall, in six and two-thirds innings, Darvish allowed the three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out 11. The outing caused his ERA to jump up five points to 2.73. It marks his 11th double-digit strikeout performance in 26 starts and he now has a total of 236 on the season. He has five starts remaining in the season, meaning he would have to average about 13 strikeouts per start to become the first 300-strikeout pitcher since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson in 2002.
Once the Twins took the lead, they relied on relievers Brian Duensing, Josh Roenicke, Jared Burton, and Glen Perkins to hold the Ranger offense silent for the 3-2 victory. With the Athletics in progress against the Rays, the Rangers’ lead in the AL West temporarily drops to 2.5 games.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.