Darvish allowed a career high 10 runs to the Marlins on Wednesday night. It’s the first time he has allowed more than seven runs in any game.
Darvish, a free agent at the end of this season, could be dealt to a contending team in the next few days as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
He may have scared a few teams with this outing. Darvish’s ERA in his last five starts jumped to 7.20. He has now had two starts this month in which he allowed at least seven earned runs (he allowed seven against the Red Sox on July 4). He had three such starts in his career prior to this stretch.
It was indicative from the first batter that it would not be Darvish’s night. Dee Gordon’s leadoff home run snapped a 413 at-bat homerless streak, the longest active streak among non-pitchers in the majors entering Wednesday.
Darvish in 2017
Darvish was coming off a three-start stretch in which he had a 2.86 ERA, and in his last start prior to Friday, he matched a season high with eight innings in which he struck out 12 against the Rays.
He has pitched well at times this season, allowing one run and one hit in seven innings in a win against the Astros on June 12 and pitching seven scoreless two-hit innings with 10 strikeouts in Yankee Stadium 11 days later.
Globe Life Park in Arlington has been a trouble spot for Darvish this season. He has a 5.38 ERA in 12 home starts this season, compared to a 2.49 ERA in 10 road starts.
Darvish was quite good but never quite lived up to the hype after the Rangers won the right to purchase him from the Nippon Ham Fighters for $51.7 million in January 2012. He had a 3.90 ERA as a rookie in 2012 but lost the AL wild-card game to the Orioles. The next season was his best, a 2.83 ERA and a league-leading 277 strikeouts.
But then came an elbow injury that limited Darvish to 22 starts in 2014, knocked him out for 2015 (Tommy John surgery) and a shoulder injury that held him to 17 starts in 2016. He made another postseason start against the Blue Jays last season but lost that as well.
Darvish’s legacy will be strikeouts. His 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings rank best in Rangers history, one spot ahead of Hall of Famer (and Rangers legend and former owner) Nolan Ryan.
But if this is it, Darvish ends with eight straight winless starts, the longest winless streak of his career.