ARLINGTON — Yu Darvish had high praise for Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, calling the 2010 American League Cy Young winner one of the top three pitchers in the game.Darvish is in the discussion himself after finishing runner up in the Cy Young vote last season.And Darvish and Hernandez square off against each other tonight in what is expected to be a pitchers’ duel. It’ll be the third meeting between the two.Hernandez was on the winning end in both matchups in 2012. He threw eight innings of one-run ball on May 21, 2012, as Darvish lasted a season-low four innings and allowed five runs (four earned). On July 14 that season, Hernandez tossed a complete-game shutout for the win, while Darvish gave up seven runs in 6 1/3 innings.But those types of starts have been few and far between for Hernandez, who is 12-20 with a 4.18 ERA in 39 career starts against the Rangers.Darvish, meanwhile, pitched better against the Mariners last season, going 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three starts. He has not allowed a run in his first two starts this season, but also has yet to be on the mound with a lead.Darvish earned a win in his season debut at Tampa Bay after seven scoreless innings, but wasn’t the pitcher of record until Elvis Andrus hit a homer in the top of the eighth inning.Darvish, though, doesn’t concern himself with run support.“It goes both ways,” he said. “When I have a lot of run support, I relax too much. That’s not good.”Darvish went on to say that the cut he suffered above his thumb in his previous start is not an issue. It has happened in the past when he throws certain pitches and his ring finger scratches that area.“I’ve done this so many times that probably the nerve isn’t working anymore, so it didn’t hurt me at all,” Darvish said.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison