It’s probably something that teams around Major League Baseball didn’t want to hear heading into October: Yu Darvish is getting better.
Coming over from Japan to the Texas Rangers, you knew there was going to be a bit of an adjustment period. And we’ve seen that adjustment period throughout the year, as this season has not been without its growing pains. But as we head into playoff time, Yu Darvish is establishing himself as one of the very best hurlers in the game.
When foreign pitchers come over, particularly from Japan, you really don’t know what to expect. The Daisuke Matsuzaka comparisons were inevitable, but with Darvish coming along as well as he has, Dice-K is completely irrelevant in the discussion at this point.
For the most part, Darvish has been pretty steady all year. He’s had a few poor starts, but that was when we saw his command get the better of him and he had issues with walks. In every start Darvish allowed five or more earned runs this season, he had walked at least four batters, with the exception of one. Command doesn’t appear to be an issue anymore.
Since an August 6th start, in which Darvish allowed six earned, walked four, and surrendered 11 hits, he has been absolute dynamite for the Texas Rangers. He’s made seven starts since, allowing more than one earned run in only three of those.
More specifically, Darvish’s past three outings have been downright dominant. He’s allowed just a single earned run in each, walked only five, and struck out a combined 26, going at least seven innings in all three. That’s the makings of a Game 1 postseason starter right there.
This recent stretch has helped Darvish get his numbers to a point that better reflects the way he has pitched all year. His ERA is at 3.90, he’s striking out over 10 hitters per nine innings, and has a WHIP of just 1.2, though you’d like his four walks per nine to come down a little bit.
We’ve already seen how Yu Darvish has made the transition to the bigs. His next test will come next month, when he has to make the transition to playoff baseball. And if he continues down this path, he’ll be starting the first tilt of the postseason for the Rangers.