In the Can-Yu-Do-It game the other night, the TV dugout shots of Ron Washington and Mike Maddux were much more telling than the calm mound demeanor of Mr. Darvish himself.The manager and the pitching coach had a Game 6 type of sweat going on, in direct contrast to Yu, whose emotional state never seemed to rise any higher than that of a guy polishing off a sushi order.(On a side menu note, there is plenty of raw fish in Houstons lineup.)But when the high drama was over, and when the 27th out was not recorded by Darvish, and when somebody named Marwin Gonzalez broke up both the perfect game and the no hitter with a clean single, Yu just smiled.So did Ron. On TV, I didnt get a look at Maddux, but we can assume he made it a trifecta of smiles. Next?Got to admit, thats what I was thinking when it was over, and history had skated on Yu. Next?As in, will Darvish make his next start as scheduled after throwing 111 pitches in his first outing of the year, a workload, of course, that far exceeded any outing in Arizona? (Eleven days ago he threw 78 pitches over five innings in a Cactus League game, a spring high.)The answer from Washington came Wednesday, although it might be subject to change.Yes, Yu will take his regular turn this weekend, meaning for now the highlight of a very attractive and challenging opening homestand for the Rangers is still a go. All Rangers fandom, and baseball fandom in general, welcomed that news.Its ace on ace Sunday night. Darvish, after barely missing the perfect game, is matched up on national TV against the Angels big boy, Jered Weaver, to close the home opening series, which begins with all the usual festivities on Friday afternoon. Yu and Jered. A stud to be, and a proven stud.Despite the drama, the excitement, and the historical implications in Houston, it was admittedly difficult for Washington and Maddux to enjoy. They werent sweating history. They were sweating health.Not surprisingly, the manager admitted after the game the only thing that kept Darvish in the game was the el perfecto he had working. If there had been a walk, or an error in the last three innings, Darvish would have been yanked. The pending no-hitter was not worth the risk.Fans would have howled if that had happened. Media would have questioned it. But what Washington knew, and we didnt, was what Darvish was telling him and Maddux.No. 1, Yu admitted after seven innings he was fatigued. No. 2, there was a blister building on his ring finger.Anything close to normal circumstances with those two factors involved, and a pitcher would have been pulled immediately. But since it was Yu, the manager had to walk a fine line with history while fighting an emotional urge to do what common sense screamed at him to do after seven innings:Take the horse to the barn, give him a bath and bed him down.Thinking about it, I cant remember a Rangers manager ever facing this kind of head-banger decision this early in the season, and certainly not when a Darvish-type talent was involved.But while the perfect game circumstances in Houston basically dictated how Washington had to handle it, even against his better judgment, that will not be the case Sunday night.Old-timers scream about the wussification of baseball, but its a pitch-count world in this era, and the use of a pitching staff revolves around pitch counts.The bounce off 111 pitches at this early date, and maybe the blister will both be in play Sunday night. Yu might not be asked for more than five innings in the next outing.For anyone paying attention last season, Darvish had proved he was a Japanese import of special qualities, and this second campaign carries the implications of a we-aint-seen-nothing-yet performance level.Granted, he will face his first major league batting order this season on Sunday night, and probably not be doing so under the best of physical circumstances.But thats the irony of this weeks near miss of perfection.No one wanted him to do that. At least they didnt until suddenly he had the opportunity to do that.So close to a perfect game, but there was nothing perfect for the manager and the pitching coach about Yu staying on the mound that long and throwing that many pitches.
Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM. Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @sportsdfw