Mired in the longest drought of his young career, Darvish makes his second straight start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night in Arlington.
Darvish (7-2, 2.75 ERA) is 0-1 in four starts since he went 5-0 with a 3.07 ERA over six outings from April 19-May 16. However, the second-year product from Japan has a 2.28 ERA during the winless streak while striking out 32.
“It hasn’t really affected me that much,” said Darvish, whose previous longest stretch between wins was three starts from July 27-Aug. 6. “I think I’ve done my job. Wins and losses you can’t really control.”
His Texas teammates have totaled 10 runs while going 1-3 during that stretch.
“A couple of them, he had to battle. A couple of them, he was crisp,” said manager Ron Washington about Darvish, who was given a 9.05 run support average through his first nine starts.
“More than anything, it was us not scoring runs. … We score some runs for him, he could have a couple of more wins. He’s thrown well enough to continue to win ballgames.”
Darvish allowed three runs in the third inning and struck out seven while pitching the first seven of a 4-3, 18-inning loss at Toronto on Saturday. He is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts against the Blue Jays (28-36), who have dropped three in a row and six of eight at Texas.
The Rangers (38-27), however, have lost two in a row and five of seven. They’re coming off a pair of 5-2 losses to Cleveland.
With three hits in Wednesday’s defeat, Texas rookie shortstop Jurickson Profar went 5 for 9 in the three-game set against the Indians after going 2 for 16 with seven strikeouts as the Rangers lost two of three at Toronto.
One of those hits came against Esmil Rogers (1-2, 3.60), who makes his third start of the season a day later than expected. Toronto’s decisive finale at Chicago on Wednesday was postponed due to the threat of severe weather.
The right-hander, who made 23 appearances out of the bullpen, has a 1.23 ERA without a decision in two starts. He allowed a run and three hits in four innings while striking out six in a 6-1 win over the Rangers on Friday.
“He’s part of our five-man rotation now, so we’ll just keep everyone in line,” manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays’ official website after the postponement.
“I got already in my mind how I’m going to pitch these guys, how I’m pitching already,” he said. “This team is an aggressive team, I have to have all my pitches ready.”
Rogers’ teammate, Jose Bautista has three homers in two games this week and is batting .381 in the last four. His solo shot with two outs in the ninth tied the game and paved the way for a 7-5, 10-inning win over the White Sox on Tuesday.
Bautista, however, is 0 for 9 with three strikeouts versus Darvish.
Adam Lind is 3 for 5 against him and hitting .457 in his last 17 contests.