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)
After going 1-1 in two consecutive outings while racking up 20 strikeouts and just three walks, Yu Darvish was back on the hill on Monday against the Kansas City Royals and showed more of his ace potential that has him trending upward heading into October and has us wondering if he'll be in line to be the Game 1 starter of a postseason series.
Darvish took a perfect game into the sixth inning on Monday against the Royals before a two-out walk on a borderline full-count pitch ended that bid. After that, he gave up three straight hits and got some shaky defense behind him by Nelson Cruz that led to three runs being scored.
Darvish came back out in the seventh and retired the side before ending his day at just 87 pitches with six strikeouts and one walk — the third straight game with two or fewer walks.
Darvish got all six of his strikeouts on Monday of the swinging variety, as he now sits second on the list in MLB in swinging strikeouts behind Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer and ahead of reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander.
That's a quality of a bona fide ace. Scherzer might not be one, but Verlander sure is. The ability to miss bats goes a long way in getting out of jams and shutting down lineups, which Darvish clearly did on Monday. If that borderline call on the walk would've gone the other way, Darvish would've very likely gone into the eighth inning with a perfect game in his back pocket.
Mark it down, Darvish will throw multiple no-hitters before his career is over, and he's starting to be the favorite to be the Rangers' Game 1 starter come October.