Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 6, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Yu Darvish is still Yu Darvish.
In a first month of the baseball season in which the Rangers need to merely hang around .500 while a plethora of injured regulars recover, it’s a huge relief to know that their ace will take the ball every fifth day. Especially if he looks like he did Sunday in Tampa.
Making his first start of the season because of a sore neck, Darvish dominated and dazzled. He pitched seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win, allowing the Rangers to avoid starting 2-4 for the first time since 2007. Darvish, one of the favorites for AL Cy Young, threw 89 pitches with six strikeouts. Along the way he broke Kerry Wood’s MLB record for 500 strikeouts in the fewest amount of innings – 401 2/3.
Last September Darvish left games early because of a sore back. Then the neck stiffened at spring training, though he blamed it on an awkward night of sleep. But with Matt Harrison and Derek Holland and Colby Lewis all not in the rotation, the Rangers need Darvish to be, well, Darvish.
And Sunday he was.
After the game Darvish joked that he could remain dominant as long as he got three weeks’ between starts. No can do. The Rangers need him now, more than ever.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.