As my colleague Josh Alper pointed out today, Yu Darvish has taken the lofty expectations that were placed upon him heading into this season, and somehow cleared them by leaps and bounds.
The consensus opinion heading into the season was that Darvish's fourth spot in the rotation was probably about right, if not one spot too far down the rung. But it seemed as if Colby Lewis and Derek Holland were the clear-cut Nos. 1 and 2 in the rotation as far as talent coupled with skins on the wall, which Darvish had none of.
Through eight starts this season, it's clear that Darvish is everything Rangers fans had hoped for, and more. In fact, if the postseason were to begin today, Darvish would without hesitation be the first guy out on the mound as the team's ace in a series opener.
The great Jamey Newberg alerted us to a stat this morning, which does all the proving necessary to show Darvish has officially reached ace status.
"Darvish has pitched three times after a Rangers loss. His record in those three starts: 3-0 with an ERA of 0.78. In 23 innings over those three starts, once in white and once in gray and once in red, he’s scattered 15 hits and six walks while punching out 26 Yankees, Blue Jays, and A’s," Newberg wrote today.
So, aside from learning that Darvish doesn't care what color jersey he wears (red is the best, by the way), we also learned Darvish is the king of stopping the bleeding, which is what an ace is supposed to do.
So yeah, it shouldn't even be a question right now. Darvish is 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA and 58 Ks, but if you throw out his MLB debut, his ERA is 1.94. That's legitimate ace territory right there.
If the playoff started today, Darvish would be the no-doubter at No. 1, Derek Holland would be No. 2, Colby Lewis would be No. 3 (despite his recent performance) with his stellar postseason history, Matt Harrison would be the No. 4 starter and Neftali Feliz would move back to the bullpen.