Yu Darvish is proving to be the real deal

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Yu Darvish is proving to be the real deal

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Expectations for Yu Darvish were every bit as big as the contract he signed to move from his native Japan. He continues to meet and perhaps even exceed them. Darvish pitched 7 2-3 strong innings and Adrian Beltre had a two-run homer to help the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Wednesday night. "He was very efficient and made them swing the bat," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Broke his cutter out tonight and moved his fastball around the zone." Darvish (6-1) gave up one run and four hits while striking out seven to win his sixth game in seven decisions and give a weary Rangers bullpen a rest. After giving up a run in the first, Darvish settled down and retired 11 of the last 15 batters he faced. He lowered his ERA to 2.60. The Rangers committed more than 107 million to acquire Darvish. Mike Adams struck out Johnny Gomes, who represented the tying run, for the final out in the eighth. Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth his eighth save. "No matter what the situation, I try to throw as many inning as I can and go as long as possible," Darvish said through an interpreter when asked if he was aware the bullpen needed some downtime after long man Scott Feldman's spot start Monday, middle man Robbie Ross and a Alexi Ogando's tireless work over the last week. "I was able to throw with less effort," Darvish said. "Getting taken out in the middle of the eighth is something that I'm not completely satisfied with." Craig Gentry and Elvis Andrus each had two hits, including run-scoring singles in a decisive fourth inning. Gentry beat out an infield single to third to score Nelson Cruz. Oakland rookie pitcher Tommy Milone (5-3) gave up four runs in seven innings, holding the Rangers' offense down until the fourth. "I thought he threw the ball extremely well," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "And really, if we get the ball over to first base on the Gentry ground ball, it's a 2-1 game. "I thought, considering it's his first time pitching here to that lineup, I don't know how he could have done much better." The Rangers sent nine players to the plate in a four-run fourth inning that was started by Josh Hamilton's infield single and Beltre's home run. Gentry and Andrus added run-scoring hits. Hamilton, who extended his hitting streak to an AL season-best 16 games, had two hits and a run scored. Beltre has tormented Oakland pitching. His homer was his ninth against the A's in the last two seasons. Josh Reddick gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He struck out in his next three at-bats. "He has been as advertized," Washington said. "He's a strikeout pitcher, and he's been that." Notes: Michael Young was out of the Rangers lineup, the third consecutive day manager Ron Washington gave at least one of the regulars a break. "One more guy, then I've done everyone." That would be slugger Josh Hamilton. Washington said before the game he wasn't sure when Hamilton would get a break, and was waiting to see what happened in the game. ... Milone entered the game allowing a .175 average to batters leading off an inning, fifth lowest in the AL. ... Ogando has not allowed a run in 15 1-3 consecutive innings. He did not pitch Wedneday.

Haggerty: Loss of Colin Miller not a significant one for Bruins

Haggerty: Loss of Colin Miller not a significant one for Bruins

There will be some that will absolutely crucify the Bruins for losing Colin Miller in Wednesday night’s expansion draft, and rail against an asset that was lost for nothing. Those people will also miss the absolutely essential point that the whole raison d’etre for an expansion draft is to remove assets from each of the 30 NHL teams, and do it without a cost for the benefit of the new franchise opening up shop in Las Vegas.

It could have been much worse for the Black and Gold as some teams were shipping first round picks to Vegas to shelter their own players from expansion selection, and other teams were losing essential players like James Neal, Marc Methot and David Perron from their respective rosters. The B’s didn’t entertain overpaying simply to avoid losing a useful player, and clearly, they did lose a talented, still undeveloped player in the 24-year-old Miller, who now may be flipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a side deal with Vegas.

But let’s be honest here. A whole lot of people are vastly overestimating a player in Miller that’s long on tools and very short on putting them together, and they’re also vastly underestimating Kevan Miller. The younger Miller can skate like the wind and has a bazooka of a shot when he winds up and fires his clapper at the net.

But despite those clear offensive talents, Colin had the same number of points as stay-at-home defenseman Kevan this season despite the bigger, stronger and older Miller playing three less games this season. Kevan also had more goals (five) and more points (18) than Colin did two years ago in his rookie season for Boston.

This isn’t to say that Colin doesn’t have more discernible offensive skill than Kevan when it comes to moving the puck or creating offense. He does, but all that talent hasn’t manifested into real points, real offense or anything else for the Black and Gold over the last couple of seasons. At a certain point, a prospect like Colin needs to put all the tools together into production on the ice if he wants to become the sum of his hockey parts, and that hasn’t happened in two full seasons in Boston.

Instead, Miller continues to struggle with decision-making with the puck, consistency and finding ways to turn the quality skating and shot package into any kind of playmaking on the ice. Miller had his challenges defensively and he was never going to be the most physical guy on the ice, but those could have been overlooked if he was lighting it up in the offensive zone on a regular basis.

Plain and simple that wasn’t happening, and over the last season 20-year-old Brandon Carlo and 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy passed Miller on the organizational depth chart for right shot defenseman, and either Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller would slot in as the third pairing D-man on the right side. It’s clear at this point that Colin Miller needs more time and patience if he’s ever going to develop as a late-blooming defenseman at the NHL level, and he wasn’t going to get those opportunities to develop in Boston.

So how good can Colin Miller really be if he was about to get buried on a Boston defensive depth chart without much hope of being in the starting six every night unless he was able to magically transform himself into a top-4 guy on the left side?

Clearly, there is risk here as Miller could move on to Toronto, develop into the player that posted 19 goals and 52 points in the AHL a couple of seasons ago and torment the Bruins for the next five-plus years. It would become another arrow in the quiver of those critics looking to hammer GM Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely at every turn, and it would generate massive “Why can’t we get players like that?” homages to the legendary Bob Lobel all across New England.    

But there’s just as good a chance that Kevan Miller will still be throwing hits and soaking up heavy minutes of ice time for the Bruins three years down the road, and that Colin Miller will be out of the league after never harnessing together his considerable talent. Perhaps Sweeney could have been better about securing an asset for Miller ahead of the expansion draft if he knew he was going to lose that player for nothing to Vegas.

The bottom line is that the Bruins were going to lose somebody to Las Vegas in the expansion draft, and the Golden Knights weren’t going to do them any favors by taking on misfit toys like Jimmy Hayes, Malcolm Subban or Matt Beleskey. They did instead lose a player with plenty of raw talent in Colin Miller, but it’s not exactly somebody that’s going to be missed in Boston once Carlo and McAvoy start showing just how bright the B’s future is on the back end starting next season.