Yu Darvish Looks to Continue Impressive Performance Against the Mainers

Elizabeth Benson@gobibsContributor IIIMay 21, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 24:  Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 24, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Rookie pitcher Yu Darvish is sure making a splash in the majors. Darvish has settled into his new digs as the Rangers' ace and continues to impress the organization, fans and the rest of the league with each outing.

Darvish is set to start tonight against the Mariners in Seattle, who he faced last month in his MLB debut. During his major league debut in April, Darvish gave up four runs and threw 42 pitches in the first inning alone. He gave up another run to the Mariners in the second.

However, instead of losing complete control in his anticipated debut, Darvish stayed calm and poised and let his pitches come to him. He then proceeded to retired 10 batters in a row while pitching into the sixth inning, collecting his first win in the MLB after the Rangers beat the Mariners 11 to 5.

Going into tonight's matchup against probable pitcher Felix Hernandez, Darvish has a 6-1 record, a 2.60 ERA, 58 strikeouts, a 1.33 WHIP and has given up only four home runs to opponents.

Darvish is first in the AL for wins, fifth in the AL for strikeouts, fifth in the AL for walks (26), fourth in the AL for ERA and second in the AL for winning percentage (.857). 

According to Christian Corona of the MLB.com, Rangers manager Ron Washington remarked about Darvish's performance thus far:

"He's known as a strikeout pitcher, and he's getting strikeouts. He has some tremendous stuff. I think each time that he takes the ball, there's something new you might see."

Darvish goes into tonight's game appearing as an experienced ace rather than a solid rookie. He has certainly lived up to the hype and expectations that were bestowed upon him when he was signed by the Rangers. His performance thus far is definitely worth the six year, $60 million the Rangers shelled out.

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 16: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 16, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images


Speaking of Darvish's expectations tonight in Seattle against King Felix, Washington remarked per James Walker of MLB.com:

"He just needs to get ahead of hitters," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That ballpark [Safeco Field] will work in his favor, so it's important to let the hitters put the ball in play. You've got to be a mighty mite to hit the ball out of that ballpark. Or Josh Hamilton. If he's throwing strikes, making them hit the ball and not put them on the bags, I expect him to have a good outing."

The Rangers have one of the most explosive offenses in the league and are backed by a solid and balanced defense. Yu Darvish has come in a more than filled the void that was left after C.J. Wilson signed with Anaheim.

If Darvish continues to perform as he has during the season thus far, he has a realistic shot at the AL rookie of the year award, which he is already among the top three candidates.