Sep 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Yu Darvish established himself as the ace of the starting rotation last season. Darvish started off the season with an almost perfect game against the Houston Astros, but it was broken up by batter number Marwin Gonzalez by a single hit up the middle. Later that season, Darvish again flirted with a no-hitter deep in the game, but failed to close the deal.
To go along with his 2 flirts with history, Darvish threw 4 games where he only allowed 1 run, but the Texas Rangers didn’t manage to score earning him on the list of pitchers to lose four 1-0 games in a season. Again, run support for pitchers was an issue.
Yu Darvish had a record of 13-9, ERA of 2.83 and a WHIP of 1.073. But his record should have been closer to 20 considering in many games the Texas Rangers failed to score more than 4 runs. In 2013, Darvish lead the majors in strikeouts with 277, hits per 9 innings at 6.2 and strikeouts per 9 innings at 11.9.
Recently Ron Washington named Yu Darvish as the opening day starter, which really doesn’t come as a surprise. Looking to 2014 season, Yu Darvish should have a Cy Young level year. With the improved offense of the Rangers, that should give him a few more wins and his ERA should remain about the same.
Overall, my guess for the opening day starting rotation would be Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez and Nick Tepesch. The everyone is able to remain healthy, that should be a stable and one of the best rotations in the league. With the improved offense, the Texas Rangers are positioned to start off red hot again.