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Darvish's New Approach Pays Off

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the third inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 6, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    Last season, Yu Darvish led the baseball world with 277 strikeouts, dwarfing the competition in punchouts.

    If all goes as planned in 2014, Darvish won't have that many strikeouts this season.

    The Texas Rangers ace is so good, he's basically a lock to get up to the 220-230 range if he's healthy all season, but 277 is rarified air.

    Last year, Darvish had a ton of strikeouts, and he also threw a ton of pitches. The Rangers ace is still yet to throw a complete game in his Major League Baseball career. Look for that to change in 2014.

    Darvish needed just 89 pitches to get through seven scoreless innings on Sunday in his season debut against the Rays. And you best believe, if it had been May and not his first start of the season, Darvish would've had himself his first complete game.

    Strikeouts are sexy in baseball, and Darvish had six through the first three innings on Sunday. After that, he had none. Just lots of quick, efficient outs, which might not be too sexy for a big strikeout pitcher like Darvish, but it'll win a lot of games.

    Again, don't expect Darvish to have much less than six strikeouts in any given start this year. He's still going to put up a ton. But his new approach would rather him get through eight innings with six strikeouts than have 12 strikeouts through six innings — something he did several times last year.

    The new Yu is here, folks, and it needs to be embraced.