The wait is finally over. Yu Darvish is back. And it’s all sorts of fun watching him pitch again.
After 657 days (we did the math), Darvish returned to the mound for the Rangers Saturday against the Pirates and showed everyone what we’ve missed.
Here’s when I knew the Rangers ace was really back, that curveball for strike three to Andrew McCutchen in the first inning. McCutchen’s knees went full jelly mode and his swing was something you would see in little league games. That’s a perennial All-Star hitter at the plate that was completely off-balanced in that at-bat.
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Darvish went five innings on 81 pitches, striking out seven and allowing only one run on three hits in his first big league start since 2014. Not a bad way to come back from Tommy John surgery. The Rangers rode the bullpen after that for the 5-2 win.
“Just like a normal rehab outing I had before, I was very calm,” said Darvish afterwards through his translator. “I was trying to focus on how to get the guys out, that was it.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister saw Darvish for the first time as skipper and was very impressed with his ace afterwards.
“It’s still as electric, explosive as I remember it,” said Banister. “I think the impressive part of it is he seemed to be in control of himself, in control of the situation. He showed up Yu Darvish tonight.”
Now with Darvish back to go along with lefty Cole Hamels, the Rangers may have one of the best 1-2 combos in the majors. It could be a fun summer in Arlington for pitching geeks who enjoy masterpieces like what we saw Saturday night.