Conversation fear.

I predict with absolute confidence that you will hear Mackenzy Bernadeau’s name on the radio today 10 times more frequently than Yu Darvish’s, because that’s the way the conversation generally goes here on Cowboys Mondays. I’m a Cowboys fan and I get that. I also don’t like it.

I predict with only slightly less confidence that Yu Darvish is going to absolutely shove tonight. He will settle back into beast mode and fire one of his best games as a Major Leaguer, as the 81-61 Rangers, 1.5 games back in the division and holding down home field at the moment for AL Game 163, host the 81-61 Pirates, 1.5 games back in the division and holding down home field at the moment for NL Game 163.

I predict with a slight bit of surprise that A.J. Pierzynski will probably catch Darvish tonight. Five days ago I would have bet on Geovany Soto, given what appeared to go down between Darvish and Pierzynski Wednesday afternoon (harmless or not), but Soto caught yesterday, and so there’s that.

Who catches for Texas tonight would probably make a more interesting talk show segment than Terrance Williams vs. Dwayne Harris going forward, but I’m realistic about such things.

Texas has never faced promising rookie righthander Gerrit Cole, who goes for Pittsburgh tonight, but he throws really hard, and that’s probably good.

Martin Perez-Francisco Liriano tomorrow is just as fascinating a matchup, and there’s some subtext to Matt Garza-A.J. Burnett on Wednesday, too, and who knows, maybe the troika of Liam Hendriks, Mike Pelfrey, and Kevin Correia have something left for Oakland these next three days, even if they nearly emptied their bags of tricks against Texas last week.

I sorta like that the Pirates are throwing Cole tonight, and that they’re a really good team that the Rangers can’t afford to look past with the A’s poised to visit Arlington this coming weekend for the last three regular season games between the two AL West leaders. There’s no more room, and no more time, for this club to let down.

We’re just under 12 hours away from Darvish against Cole, opening the third of eight straight biggest-series-of-the-year series of pennant race baseball games, and I can’t wait, and I’ll mention Darvish here one last time to make sure he gets referenced three times as often today, at least in this space, as Mr. Bernadeau.

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