<
>

Dose of Darvish: Chance to play stopper

4/24/2013

Yu Darvish has been in this position before -- starting the day or night after a Texas Rangers loss.

He's flourished in that situation so far this season.

Darvish will have his fourth chance in five starts to win following a Rangers loss. So far he's 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in those situations. Texas is the only team in baseball that hasn't lost two games in a row, and Darvish is as big a reason as any.

An ace's biggest task is being a club's stopper and keeping his team from going on long losing streaks. With Matt Harrison's average of 17 wins the last two seasons out of the rotation and two rookies in -- as effectively as Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch have pitched, they've made a combined seven career starts -- the onus is on Darvish, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando. The Rangers are trying to maintain their early-season trend of winning series (they're 4-0 with two splits heading into Wednesday's rubber game against the Angels).

Darvish should be in prime position to beat the Angels on Wednesday night. He has pitched well in Anaheim, where he is 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA and .171 batting average against in three starts.

Also, Angels starter Tommy Hanson, who was scheduled for Wednesday, is on the club's bereavement list. So left-hander Michael Roth, who was pitching in college at South Carolina this time last year, will make the start for the Angels.

Darvish versus Roth is a huge mismatch.

The Angels have burned through their bullpen the last five games, using relievers for 19 innings. Closer Ernesto Frieri has appeared in three straight games, so he won't be available Wednesday.

It's a big advantage for Darvish, who gets another shot at doing what he's done best this year -- winning after a Rangers loss.