Yu Darvish has been a dominating presence in the American League since he joined the Rangers in 2012. But he hasn’t had great success against Seattle, going 3-3 in six starts.
GAME: Mariners (56-66, 3rd, AL West, -14.5 GB) at Rangers (71-52, 1st, AL West, +1.5 GA). GAME #: 123. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 16th (Mariners lead 9-6). WHEN: Sunday, 12:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Rangers W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Monday in Houston, Texas right hander Yu Darvish fanned 15 batters, allowed one hit and issued one walk, missing a no-hitter only when catcher Carlos Corporan, batting .246, came up with one out in the eighth inning and hit Darvish’s first pitch for a home run. Darvish’s splendid outing almost replicated his performance against Houston April 2.
That day, Darvish’s first start of the season, he recorded 14 strikeouts and gave up one hit, a two-out, ninth-inning single to No. 9 hitter Marwin Gonzalez that broke up a perfect game. True, Darvish faced the feeble Astros, but still: No other major league pitcher since 1900 won two games in his career in which he had at least 14 strikeouts, allowed no more than one hit and walked one or fewer batters.
Darvish’s 15 strikeouts Monday gave him 207 for the season in 23 starts. That’s the fewest starts into a season that a pitcher needed to reach 200 Ks since 2002, when Curt Schilling hit that mark in his 22nd start and Arizona teammate Randy Johnson did it in start number 23.
Since Darvish joined the Rangers last year following a distinguished career in Japan, he is 28-14 with 3.34 ERA in 52 starts. Three of his 11 defeats — 21.4 percent — have been administered by the Mariners, who are 1-1 against Darvish this season and face him again Sunday when Seattle and Texas close out a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark.
Although erased Saturday night 15-3, in a game in which Texas battered Felix Hernandez for five runs in the second inning and Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush for eight more in the eighth, the Mariners can come away with a series win. Ideally, they won’t have to use Perez. This is what Perez has done against the last 10 hitters he’s faced:
Four-pitch walk (Craig Gentry), hit batter (Leonys Martin), double (Gentry), walk (Elvis Andrus), single (Ian Kinsler), single (Adrian Beltre), single (Alex Rios), walk (Mitch Moreland), strikeout (Geovany Soto), single (Jurickson Profar).
Despite Darvish’s record against Seattle, the Mariners bat .160 against him, and Kyle Seager — 6-for-16, .375 BA — is the lone Seattle player to experience any success.
Darvish will oppose Erasmo Ramirez, who is 4-0, despite an unsightly 7.06 ERA, largely because he great run support when he pitches. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0, 7.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
The 23-year-old Ramirez, a Nicaragua native in his second major league season, and second with Seattle, will make his sixth start and first against the Rangers. The 23-year-old continued getting strong run support as he won his fourth straight decision Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Ramirez, who missed the first three months with an elbow problem, has allowed at least three runs in each of his five starts.
RANGERS: RHP Yu Darvish (12-5, 2.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Darvish, an Osaka, Japan, native in his second major league season, both with Texas, will make his 24th start and third against the Mariners. Darvish is 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA in his past five starts since coming off the DL July 22. He struck out a career-high 15 and allowed one hit in a 2-1 win over the Astros Monday. He is 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA in six career starts vs. Seattle.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|8/18||Sun||at Tex||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (12-5)|
|8/19||Mon||at Oak||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (8-6)|
|8/20||Tue||at Oak||LHP Joe Saunders (10-12) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (1-1)|
|8/21||Wed||at Oak||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6) vs. RHP A.J. Griffin (10-8)|