ESPN Dallas guy says Yu Darvish should pitch through elbow pain

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Richard Durrett is truly missed today.

This is what happens when you devote a website to, in all reality, covering the Dallas Cowboys but have extra capacity and force your football dudes to write about baseball. From ESPN Dallas.com:

This is a critical week for the Rangers in terms of where they stand with ace Yu Darvish. At some point he should throw a bullpen session.

It doesn’t have to occur today or tomorrow, but he needs to throw sometime . . . Darvish needs to show the club he can pitch through some discomfort, especially if games are meaningful . . . Darvish should let the club have more control over what’s needed for him. He needs to have better communication with the front office and the manager to make things smoother. He just decided it was best to head to the DL, and it raised questions regarding his commitment to the club.

That’s from Calvin Watkins, whose bio says he has “covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.” Baseball is not mentioned. Not really surprising given the content.

To be fair to him, he does offer a Ron Washington quote that, at least on the surface, supports the idea that Darvish should pitch sooner rather than later. But it also spends a lot of time with the false equivalence of a position player dealing with aches and pains and a franchise pitcher dealing with elbow inflammation. It also is based on the false premise that Darvish, and not the the Rangers front office, training staff and coaching staff, determines when he goes on the disabled list and when he does not. Oh, another false premise: that the Rangers games mean anything at this point in the season.

How one can cover baseball for a living and not note the epidemic of pitcher injuries and the importance of keeping a guy like Darvish healthy in the long term is a mystery to me.  Oh wait: this guy does not typically cover baseball for a living. That’s right.

(h/t Adam from Lonestar Ball)

Astros clinch AL West for third consecutive year

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For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.

Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.

Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.

Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.

The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.