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)
Yu Darvish made the expected splash onto the MLB scene last year as a highly touted Japanese pitching prospect that was supposed to flip the script on the typical Japanese import and have staying power as a pitcher in the big leagues.
The quest for that begins today as Darvish will make his 2013 debut and look to continue trending upward after a stellar end to the 2012 season and a great spring. He'll start against the Houston Astros, who shocked the Rangers on Sunday night with an 8-2 victory after being projected as the worst team in the bigs this year and possibly one of the worst teams of all-time.
Darvish basically had one bad spring inning, but other than that he was lights out. He tossed 13 2/3 innings, giving up just eight hits with 15 strikeouts and three walks to show he had kept up his control that finally came on toward the end of 2012.
Darvish finished last season with a 3.90 ERA and a 16-9 record, but was great over his final eight starts of the season. In those last eight outings, Darvish went 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA thanks to his cut down walks total, walking just 15 compared to 67 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings.
If that is, in fact, the new Darvish and the one we can expect to see going forward, look for very big things from the second-year pitcher.