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Yu Darvish confident he'll fix control issues

OAKLAND, Calif. -- As the Texas Rangers lost for the seventh time in nine games Thursday, the stories of the day were these: the Rangers couldn't hit and Yu Darvish couldn't throw strikes.

Although the former may seem like a more acute issue at the moment, at least the Rangers hitters have long careers in the big leagues for evidence that they will hit again.

As for Darvish, whose major league career has spanned all of 12 starts, the question remains open. Was his lack of control in a 7-1 loss to the A's just an isolated problem, or was it merely the worst day in a season that had already seen him walk more batters than he should?

Darvish's response: Don't worry. He'll figure it out.

"I think I've had a mix of good and bad outings, but I try not let my confidence get low," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I maintain my confidence, and I am confident that I can fix this and pitch better by my next outing."

In fact, within 30 minutes after the end of this game, Darvish said he had already watched tape and diagnosed the mechanical issue that caused him to lose the strike zone in the critical fourth inning.

"To break it down would be a long story," Darvish said. "I was aware that something was wrong but I had a difficult time fixing it (during the game).

After the game I looked at video and figured out what I was doing wrong."

Darvish had allowed two runs on four hits in the first three innings but he hadn't walked anyone. The Rangers trailed 2-1 when he took the mound in the fourth.

With one out, he walked Brandon Inge. Then he walked Brandon Moss. Then he hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch.

After a sacrifice fly and another walk, to Jemile Weeks, Darvish gave up the hit that essentially decided the game -- a three-run triple by Coco Crisp. That made it 6-1, pretty much lights-out for a Rangers team that was scuffling at the plate.

Crisp, who also homered off Darvish, came into the game hitting .158.

"I don't know if he's in a slump or not," Darvish said. "In my opinion from what I saw today, he looks like an incredible hitter. He looks like our Hamilton."

(And Josh Hamilton, 4-for-29 on the trip, looks like Coco Crisp, but that's another story.)

Of course, it wasn't the pitches to Crisp that burned Darvish. It was the walks that came before. Those walks have Rangers manager Ron Washington's attention, but he's not panicked. He has seen Darvish walk 44 batters in 72 2/3 innings so far this year.

"If I knew why, it wouldn't happen," Washington said. "It's certainly something we're going to address and try to correct. He just couldn't find the strike zone. He was pulling the ball, not getting it where he needs to get it. The reason behind it? I couldn't stand here right now and tell you."

Washington added that he's comfortable that Darvish has the mental makeup to battle through this issue and once again be the pitcher the Rangers have seen when he's at his best.

"I'm more than certain he's had some adversity before and he'll bounce back from it," Washington said. "We certainly will be here to support him, so he doesn't have to worry about that. We're not going to turn our back on him. We're certainly not going to let him go in the tank. We'll stick with him."