Yu Darvish is pitching like the ace the Rangers were betting on when they committed more than $100 million to him over the winter, including a $51.7 million posting fee.
Locked in a pennant race with three more starts remaining this season — beginning tonight against the Angels — Darvish needs to stay on his current track.
He has posted six straight quality starts, going 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA and holding opponents to a .151 batting average. Narrow his performances to his past four starts, and he’s even better at 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA and a .134 opponents average in 29 innings.
He hasn’t been facing the ’27 Yankees, but he seems to have shaken free of the difficulties he encountered earlier in the season when facing an opponent for the second and third times.
The Angels will be seeing him tonight for the fifth time. Darvish is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA so far.
“I’m just going out there and pitching the way I can,” he said. “Facing teams more often and getting to learn the hitters makes me feel very good.”
Darvish’s mind also seems to be in the right place, a more relaxed place, as he has adjusted to all the new things that come with transitioning from Japan.
He has bought the Rangers’ company line of worrying about only the game in front of them, and not focusing on how well Oakland and Anaheim are doing.
Darvish dismissed the notion of striving for personal goals, like winning more games than any other rookie from Japan. He is now team-first, whereas earlier in the year he was trying to find his way.
The right-hander went so far as to say that he and the Rangers’ won’t have a successful season if they fall short of their ultimate goal.
“I think, as a team, nothing changes from the beginning of the season to the end of the season,” Darvish said. “Every game that we’re playing, we’re trying to win each one.
“I don’t know if we’re good or bad. I think that all comes down to if we win the whole thing. Then, you can really say that we were a good team. We’re striving for that.”