A.J. Pierzynski with starting pitcher Yu Darvish.
Yu Darvish has been every bit of the ace the Texas Rangers have hoped for this year. That doesn't mean dominant at every turn out — that's just not reasonable — but he's been right up there with the most feared aces in baseball this year while posting a 7-2 record with a 2.84 ERA and a league-leading 137 strikeouts, 6.0 hits per nine innings and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Even still, it's been more than a month since Darvish recorded his last win, back on May 16 in the overhyped matchup between he and Justin Verlander — a game the Rangers won 10-4 and a game Darvish pitched eight innings, which raised some eyebrows as he threw a career-high 130 pitches.
Now, he'll try to get back on the winning track in his first appearance at Yankee Stadium as he takes on his countryman and fellow seven-game winner Hiroki Kuroda along with another countryman, Ichiro Suzuki, who seemed to almost intimidate Darvish during his time with the Mariners, who inexplicably had Darvish's number with Ichiro in the dugout.
Darvish has faced the Yankees once, last year in Arlington, and it was perhaps his breakout game on the national stage as he went 8 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts, two walks and no runs allowed.
The Rangers can't continue to lose Darvish's starts, which has been a problem over the last month due to the lack of run support and a couple of outings below Darvish's lofty standards. They can change both of those trends on Tuesday night.