ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on August 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
When the Texas Rangers paid in excess of $100 million to sign Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish in the off-season, they did so with the thinking that he would be a bona fide ace in the big leagues, if not immediately, then very soon.
Though the 2012 season has seen its ups and downs for the 25-year-old, when Darvish faces a team for the first time, he's been very ace-like.
The most recent such game came in Darvish's last start against the streaking hot Tampa Bay Rays when he went 7 innings, gave up six hits, struck out 10 and walked two while giving up no runs in a 1-0 Rangers win.
This season, when facing teams for the first time, his ERA is just north of 2.00 and that includes his MLB debut when he was torched by the Seattle Mariners before eventually getting a win thanks to the Rangers' offense.
With the postseason approaching, the Rangers are hoping Darvish's recent trend of dominant starts can continue and he can be a No. 2 pitcher, or possibly even a No. 1.
His last three starts have been quality starts, but his last two, in particular, have been pretty spectacular in the control department. He's 1-1 in those starts with 20 strikeouts and just three walks, a much smaller number than the high walk totals that have plagued him at times this season.