To say that Yu Darvish has performed well recently may be a bit of an understatement. In his last five starts he is 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA. In that time he is averaging four hits per game while walking 11 against 42 strikeouts. Manager Ron Washington credits the turnaround to Darvish dropping some baggage. I’m not quite sure what that’s in reference to but I’m glad to see it happen. This Darvish is the one that Rangers fans had hoped for when Texas shelled out over $120 million for him in the offseason.
Hopefully this trend continues tonight as the Texas Rangers host the Seattle Mariners with Yu on the mound. Darvish has had zero success against the Mariners this season. In fact in three games he has an 8.29 ERA with 14 walks and 14 strikeouts. But things have changed. More noticeably two things have changed. First off there is no more Ichiro in Seattle. Some people felt that Ichiro intimidated Darvish. After all Darvish grew up watching him play in Japan and was now facing his idol in America. Ichiro literally owned him going 6-for-11 against him which translates to a .545 average.
The other change that has occurred is at catcher. Mike Napoli started the season as Darvish’s catcher and that job was soon given to Yorvit Torrealba. Torrealba was released and the Rangers traded for Geovany Soto. Napoli caught Darvish again until he went on the disabled list. That left Soto as the one in charge of Darvish and he seems to have made quite an impact. Soto is one of the more vocal and demonstrative catchers I have ever seen. He is also excellent at framing pitches which is what Darvish needs as he likes to nibble at the corners of the plate.