ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 14, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
There have a been few nights already this season when Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish took the mound and you knew right away the game was going to be a special thing to watch.
Tuesday night's homestand-opening game against the last-place Chicago White Sox wasn't one of those nights. Darvish struggled with his command throughout the night, especially in the first inning when he gave up two runs before the Rangers had even stepped into the batter's box themselves.
But despite not having his best stuff, Darvish settled in and gave the Rangers six innings, striking out nine and picking his up league-leading fifth win of the season and increase his league-leading strikeout total to 58.
Darvish improved to 5-0 this season when following a Rangers loss and has become a true skid-stopper, one of the characteristics of being a big-league ace. He's now 12-3 in those situations over his year-and-a-month long career.
Darvish was without his starting catcher as A.J. Pierzynski missed the game due to an oblique injury, and instead was throwing to the guy that was supposed to be his personal catcher after Geovany Soto had worked with him so well last year. The two had some mix-ups with signs and in coming to an agreement on what to throw when, and it was just an all-around very average night for Darvish.
But here's what we've learned: Darvish on an average night is pretty darn good.