It was an impressive debut for Yu Darvish last weekend. The Rangers ace made his triumphant return from Tommy John surgery, allowing one run in five innings of work while striking out seven in the 5-2 win over the Pirates.
Now for the encore.
Darvish gets the ball as the Rangers and Mariners battle for first place in the A.L. West tonight in Arlington. Of course, Darvish against the Seattle lineup is a marquee matchup within itself. But here’s what I’m interested in.
How will Darvish respond both physically and mentally pitching in his second start back? There’s always a lot of adrenaline and excitement in the debut, but now the focus will be on durability, especially concerning his arm after coming back from that type of surgery.
Will his stuff still be as crisp as it was last Saturday? I think Darvish may have somewhat exceeded expectations in his return concerning his stuff, particularly the movement he had on his pitches. Velocity was also excellent, hitting 99 on the radar gun in the first inning; the hardest he had ever thrown in the majors.
However, the key will be to see if his arm is ready to keep that going on a major league schedule? Darvish doesn’t need to throw 99 every time, but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain movement and the ability to change speeds without any setbacks the second time around.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Globe Life Park in Arlington.