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Yu Darvish Opens MLB Career with Game Against Ichiro Suzuki: A Fan’s Preview
The Texas Rangers won their first series of the 2012 season by taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox. Now, as the team prepares to start their second series, the biggest game of the early season prepares for opening pitch. In what might be the most watched MLB game in Japan history, Yu Darvish makes his Rangers' debut against the Seattle Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki.
The greatest Japanese import in MLB history prepares to take on the best pitcher Japan has seen in years. This is going to be a huge event game.
The Rangers (2-1) acquired Darvish from Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan for $51.7 million in January and signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract shortly thereafter. Darvish finished his Japanese career with a 93-38 record and a 1.99 ERA with 1,259 strikeouts. He also picked up the league MVP in two of the seven seasons he played in Japan's Pacific League. He led his team to the 2006 Japanese Series title and won two Climax Series championships.
In spring, Darvish finished with a 1-0 record and 3.60 ERA with 21 strikeouts.
Before coming to America, Ichiro was a seven-time NPB All-Star and three-time MVP. He also played on the Japanese Series championship team in 1996. Since coming to MLB, Ichiro has averaged .326 with 1,278 hits and 658 runs over his career. He also stole 199 bases since coming to Seattle.
Now, Darvish, at the start of his MLB career, prepares to go to battle against Ichiro, the best player to come to America from Japan. Through the start of the season, Ichiro is hitting .352 through four games with three RBIs. Against the Rangers in 2011, Ichiro only hit .189 with one RBI in nine games at the Arlington Ballpark in 2011.
Pitching for the Mariners is Hector Noesi, also making his first start of the 2012 season. As a rookie in 2011 with the New York Yankees, he went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, two of them starts. Seattle is 3-1 on the season and hopes for their fourth win of the season. The last time Seattle opened the season with four wins in the first five games was 2001, the year they finished with a franchise best 116 wins.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and has been a Texas Rangers fan his entire life, watching the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate play for over 30 years. While Texas has moved their Triple-A team, Shawn still remains a loyal Rangers fan and awaits the year they finally win the big one.
Other articles by Shawn S. Lealos:
- Mitch Moreland Out to Prove Himself to Texas Rangers in 2012: A Fan's Take
- Ian Kinsler Starts Season Strong for Texas Rangers: A Fan's Take
- Five Things About the Texas Rangers Opening Day Win: A Fan's Take
- Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura Meet Again as Rangers Battle White Sox on Opening Day: A Fan's Take
- David Murphy Earns Starting Role for Texas Rangers: A Fan's Take
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