Yu Darvish's road to recovery from Tommy John surgery had some speed bumps, as a return trip to the disabled list with neck and shoulder issues occurred just three starts into his comeback. He didn't get as many as 90 pitches into a start until just before the All-Star break, after which he went on a streak of eight consecutive quality starts. The Rangers were careful with his single-game workloads, allowing Darvish to exceed 100 pitches in just two of his 17 starts, but most compelling was his sudden affinity for low-walk outings. Darvish walked one or zero batters in 11 of those 17 starts, and in the low-walk games he had a K:BB of 90:9 in 69.1 combined innings. Pitch command is typically the last thing to come around for a pitcher coming off major elbow surgery, so the fact that his stuff was intact and that his command was potentially better than pre-Tommy John mean that his skills survived the trip under the knife. He could take off once fully unbridled.
Darvish improved to 2-2 on the season after giving up two runs on five hits and a walk over eight innings while striking out eight in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Royals. Darvish surrendered a pair of homers in the third inning, but he otherwise kept the Royals bats at bay, retiring 17 batters via strikeout or groundout. While Darvish is still averaging less than a strikeout per inning for the first time in his career, he's throwing with more velocity than he has in any of his previous four seasons, so there's reason to be optimistic that he'll induce more whiffs before long.
Darvish (1-2) gave up four runs on three hits and a pair of walks over 5.1 innings in Tuesday's loss to Oakland. He struck out four. He was cruising along until he hit the sixth inning, when the A's scored all four runs off him while Darvish was able to record just a single out. The Japanese righty has been hit or miss over his first four starts, as he's sandwiched two excellent starts between a pair of four-run efforts. That 23:12 K:BB over 24.2 innings isn't exactly the sort of awe-inspiring figure fantasy owners are looking for, but Darvish should keep getting better as the season wears on. He'll draw the Royals at home on Sunday.
Darvish allowed just five hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings while striking out 10 batters during Thursday's win over the Angels. While it was just the first win of the season for Darvish, it hasn't been because of his performance on the mound. The flamethrower now sports a 2.33 ERA with 19 punchouts through 19.1 innings, and he's walked fewer batters in each start. Assuming he stays healthy, the sky's the limit for Darvish.
Darvish (0-1) struck out five and allowed one run on four hits and three walks across six innings during Saturday's loss to the Athletics. Darvish didn't have his best stuff in this one, but he routinely battled back in the count and only yielded a run in the sixth inning via groundout after he allowed two men to reach. Unfortunately the Rangers' offense was stifled by Kendall Graveman until the seventh inning, eliminating any chance Darvish had to pick up a win. Entering the season with the highest K/9 rate in MLB history for a minimum of 100 appearances, Darvish has underachieved in that category thus far, whiffing just nine batters through 12 frames. He has still been solid despite not measuring up to an extremely high bar through two starts and will look to put it all together Thursday against the Angels.
Darvish tossed 6.1 innings, giving up four runs on four hits (one home run) and five walks while striking out four in a no-decision against the Indians on Monday night. Darvish certainly wasn't at his best Monday against a strong lineup. It's disappointing after he came back strong from Tommy John surgery in the second half of last season -- especially with his command. His 11.8 K/9 last year shows just how dominant he can be, and he should demonstrate better control with more innings under his belt.