Yu Darvish’s statistics may put him among the best pitchers in baseball, but he doesn’t think he belongs there yet.
The Oakland Athletics would like to prove him right again.
Darvish goes for a sixth straight victory Tuesday night when he tries to help the Texas Rangers bounce back from their latest defeat to the A’s.
Texas (29-16) owns the best record in baseball, and Darvish (7-1, 2.97 ERA) has been a key contributor.
The right-hander is baseball’s leader with 86 strikeouts, and he’s tied with two others for second in wins, one behind Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore
“I only have won 20 or so games here in the big leagues,” Darvish told the team’s official website. “I don’t think I’m at a point where you guys can compare me to the top pitchers in Major League Baseball. I’m not even at the starting point.”
He’s 5-0 with a 3.07 ERA while fanning 58 in 41 innings over his last six starts, his longest single-season winning streak in the majors. However, he won eight consecutive starts with Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters from April 19-June 8, 2011.
Darvish’s last four outings haven’t been very efficient, though, winning three despite a 4.50 ERA and serving up seven homers.
“The thing about Yu Darvish, he bends but he never breaks,” manager Ron Washington said.
That was certainly the case Thursday, when he gave up four runs and two homers in eight innings of a 10-4 win against Detroit in what was anticipated to be a pitchers’ duel with Justin Verlander
Darvish lost his last two starts against Oakland in 2012, mustering a 6.57 ERA with nine walks despite 15 strikeouts in 12 1-3 innings.
The Rangers have lost seven of the past 10 meetings with the A’s (24-22), thanks in part to the rotation’s 7.60 ERA. That includes Monday’s 9-2 loss in the opener of this three-game series.
“I think the Oakland Athletics are a great team and I still have to study a lot and look at videos and make adjustments when I face them in a game situation,” Darvish said. “They’re a really good team and I just have to pitch my game.”
Darvish may be helped with A.J. Pierzynski expected back from a strained oblique that landed him on the disabled list. The catcher is hitting .406 over his last eight meetings with Oakland.
Darvish will try to slow down Josh Donaldson again. He’s has held him hitless in three at-bats while striking him out twice. The third baseman, though, enters this meeting hitting .412 over the past nine games, and that includes going 8 for 17 with three doubles versus Texas.
Oakland is expected to counter Darvish with Daniel Straily (1-2, 7.27), who is getting a second straight start versus the Rangers.
The right-hander gave up five runs while issuing four walks and hitting two batters in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Texas.
He’s 0-2 with an 8.84 ERA over his last four starts.
“I think it’s more command with him right now,” manager Bob Melvin told the team’s official website. “Certainly your first year in the big leagues, you’re trying to find yourself and have some confidence, and that can go back and forth on you depending on what your results are. He just hasn’t gotten to a point where he’s gotten on a roll.
“He does have the stuff to do it. We expect him to be that guy.”
Straily yielded one earned run in 6 2-3 innings while not getting a decision in a 5-4 defeat in his only visit to Arlington on Sept. 24.