First, Yu Darvish exited earlier than expected after five innings Wednesday night, though the Texas Rangers were quick to announce that the shoulder tightness he experienced isn’t thought to be serious.
A few innings later, Adrian Beltre went to the dugout in the eighth with tightness in his left hamstring that he knew was serious enough that he shouldn’t continue playing.
So, excuse the Rangers if they weren’t overly concerned about their 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros, who ended an eight-game losing streak to the Rangers this season and a 12-game slide at Globe Life Park.
The health of two of the Rangers’ biggest contributors, two players thought to be key cogs in their push to a second consecutive American League West title, was the focal point after their five-game winning streak was snapped.
“Any time a player comes off the field, there’s concern,” manager Jeff Banister said. “I’m not going to overplay it, and I’m not going to underplay it in any one direction until we get reevaluated.”
Darvish doesn’t believe that his shoulder tightness, which he said started near his neck, is too serious and that he plans to make his next start Monday at Oakland. At least it isn’t his elbow.
He was lifted from his third start since Tommy John surgery after allowing one run on three hits in five innings. He threw only 76 pitches, but he was visited in the fifth by athletic trainer Kevin Harmon.
TV replays showed Darvish shaking his right arm after throwing a 63-mph curveball to strike out George Springer. After a walk to Jose Altuve, Harmon, pitching coach Doug Brocail and interpreter Hide Sato went to the mound.
Darvish threw a few warmup pitches, stayed in the game and retired Carlos Correa on a deep drive to right field. Though he was on a 95-pitch limit, Darvish was replaced by Shawn Tolleson to start the sixth.
Darvish, who walked four and struck out seven, was quickly examined by Dr. Keith Meister, who found no significant issues. Darvish said that the tightness started in the fourth inning and that he took some velocity off his fastballs in the fifth.
“I believe that tomorrow I can play catch with no problem,” Darvish said. “I need to take out that tightness in the neck area, and that will make my shoulder feel better.”
Beltre was injured running to second on a Prince Fielder one-out single in the eighth. Beltre, who grabbed for his left hamstring as he rounded second, went directly to the dugout during a pitching change and did not return.
He was initially diagnosed with tightness in his left hamstring and will be evaluated again Thursday, which was originally scheduled to be a day off for him. Jurickson Profar, who sat for the first time since his May 27 promotion, replaced Beltre and will start at third in the series finale.
“It was a little tightness and precautionary, trusting what Adrian says,” Banister said. “I trust what Adrian says. When it comes to his body, he knows his body better than anybody else. It’s best to get him off the diamond whenever anything like that happens.”
Springer started the game with a home run off Darvish, but that was all the Astros got. Darvish said that he thought his pitches were sharper than in his second start Friday, but he also said that he was “all over the place” at times.
He got help in the third from Ian Desmond, who threw home on an Altuve single to nail Jason Castro and save a run. In the fourth, Darvish worked around a one-out double by Luis Valbuena.
Tolleson, who hadn’t pitched since May 25, worked a scoreless sixth inning, but the Astros collected three hits off Tom Wilhelmsen in the seventh. The third was the game-winner, a two-run double by Altuve.
Afterward, though, the Rangers weren’t as concerned about the loss as they were Darvish and Beltre. Both will be evaluated Thursday, and Wednesday night was too early to speculate whether Darvish would miss a start or if heralded prospect Joey Gallo would be recalled to replace Beltre.
“We’ll sit down with our medical staff and see where we’re at,” Banister said. “But typically, 24 hours or 12 hours or 18 hours tells us a little bit different story, but 24 hours will give us a better assessment.”
Said first baseman Mitch Moreland: “That’s never good. When that kind of thing happens, hopefully we’ll get good news from them, and they’ll be back out there as soon as possible. We’ll see what happens, but I’m not too worried about it. I think those guys are strong guys. They work hard.”
Rangers vs. Astros
1:05 p.m. today, FSSW