Another series against a World Series contender begins Monday for the Texas Rangers, who will play three games to start the week against the Houston Astros.
As was the case to open the month, the Rangers will have their ace on the mound in Game 1.
Yu Darvish said that he learned from his June 2 start against the majors’ top team in which he issued three runs but lasted only five innings. He noted that the Astros’ lineup has changed from last season, both in personnel and in approach.
“They’ve got a new team from before,” Darvish said. “I think they have a different two-strike approach, and there is a way I can pitch around that if they have that approach.”
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Darvish needed 104 pitches last time against the Astros, who didn’t score against him until Carlos Correa’s three-run homer in the fifth. Darvish struck out eight and walked only one, but had 10 at-bats of at least 10 pitches.
He said after the start that he needed to find a way to pitch more efficiently. To that end, Darvish threw 117 pitches in 7 1/3 innings Wednesday against the New York Mets, but he allowed to more homers to push his season total to 12 in 13 starts.
That number doesn’t alarm him much. It’s a trend in baseball, he said.
“Looking at the numbers from [Clayton] Kershaw and [Max] Scherzer, good pitchers have been giving up home runs,” Darvish said. “I just don’t want to put the runners in scoring position and give up home runs. There are things I can do to prevent that.”