Battle of First Place Teams (Darvish vs. Verlander)

Yu Darvish

The Rangers and Detroit are about to face off in a four game set this weekend, but that is now what everyone is talking about. Everyone is talking about tonight’s match up of Rangers ace Yu Darvish verses Tigers ace Justin Verlander. It is a highly intriguing match up, that is unless you are an offensive player in this game. Baseball reference tells us that Yu is 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA. He has pitched 52.2 innings, struck out an astonishing 80 batters while walking only 18. He has a whip of 0.911, a SO/9 of 13.7, a WAR of 1.5 and a RAR of 16. Darvish is in the top five in the AL in wins, win/loss percentage, walks & hits per 9 innings, hits per 9 innings, and strikeouts.

Justin Verlander is 4-3 with a 1.93 ERA. He has pitched 51.1 innings, struck out 57 while walking 18. His whip is 1.208, his so/9 is 10.0, he has a WAR of 2.1 and a RAR of 20. Verlander is in the top five in WAR for pitchers and ERA. So what do all of those numbers tell us? That hits are going to come at a premium in tonight’s game. Both the Rangers and the Tigers are going to have trouble putting the ball in play or even making contact. It should be another one of those stressful, down to the wire type games. I think this is one of the most anticipated games of the young 2013 season so far. In a different way, it is kind of like the game last season when C.J. Wilson came back for the first time and faced off against Darvish. And we all remember how that turned out. Darvish waited out the rain delay and Wilson did not.

Well hopefully there will be no rain delay to worry about tonight, or for the rest of the series for that matter. Tomorrow pits Nick Tepesch (3-3, 4.03 ERA) against Rick Porcello (1-2, 6.68 ERA). Nick has had some ups and downs of late but I trust him to come through at home and get the Rangers a win. Porcello has had a bad season so far, and we can all only hope that continues Friday Night. Saturday has Justin Grimm (2-3, 4.28 ERA) facing off against Anibal Sanchez (4-3, 2.05 ERA). Now that Alexi is injured (that was kind of shocking news today after the way he pitched last night), The Rangers really need the young guys to come through and keep them in games. I hope that both Justin and Nick are able to do just that. Saturday will be tough because Anibal is having a very good season so far.

The Finale of the series has Derek Holland (3-2, 2.93 ERA) coming off of a great start going up against Doug Fister (5-1, 3.06 ERA). If Derek can pitch at all like he did in his last start and limit the home runs, he has a great chance of getting his fourth win of the season, but this is another game that I believe will probably go down to the pen to win, and the Rangers have the better pen.

All in all, this series of two first place teams is shaping up to be a very fun series to watch, I just hope it turns out that way.

Topics: AL Central, AL West, Alexi Ogando, Bull Pen, Derek Holland, Detroit, Justin Grimm, Justin Verlander, MLB, Nick Tepesch, Rangers, Texas, Tigers, Yu Darvish

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