ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 11: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Miami Marlins in the top of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 11, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Since Yu Darvish has been in the majors and the ace of the Texas Rangers' staff, the Rangers have not won an AL West title.
That, of course, is by no fault of Darvish's, but it is no coincidence that the team that has held the Rangers out of the top spot since 2011 is none other than the two-time defending champion Oakland A's, who have a healthy lead in the division this season.
But on Tuesday night when Darvish takes the hill in Oakland off the heels of an unlikely Rangers rout on Monday, Darvish will have a chance to pull the Rangers within six games of Oakland, secure an unlikely series victory and end a staggering personal skid against the A's all at the same time.
Twice this year, Darvish has faced the A's, and they happened to be in back-to-back starts back in April. In Arlington, Darvish had a quality start, giving up three runs in six innings, but walked four and gave up eight hits. The following week in Oakland, Darvish had the worst start of his career, allowing four runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
It's been more than a trend for Darvish. It's pretty much the norm now for him to struggle against the Rangers' biggest division rival. In his nine career starts against Oakland, Darvish is 1-7 with a 4.73 ERA against the A's, and the numbers are even worse in Oakland.
In his three starts in Oakland, Darvish is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA. He's allowed four homers in those three starts.
But Tuesday could be his chance to snap the trend. He's pitching very well at the moment, and could be the best we've seen him at the moment. He's coming off his first career shutout last Wednesday against Miami, when he fanned 10 and walked two.
Over his last six starts, he's 5-1 with a 1.51 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 16 walks.
He'll need to bring that stuff to the dreaded O.Co. mound on Tuesday night, and if he does, both he and the Rangers will be in good shape moving forward.