OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Yu Darvish will start the Texas Rangers' first playoff game — and he finally knows all the details about who and when.
Manager Ron Washington announced Darvish as his pick before the Rangers lost their regular-season finale at Oakland 12-5 on Wednesday to wind up as an AL wild card.
"Of course I'm ready," Darvish said through an interpreter. "If I'm not ready I probably wouldn't be picked. I'm going to approach it like any other start. I'll try to pitch well and give my team a chance to win."
The two-time reigning AL champion Rangers will play in the new one-game, wild-card playoff on Friday at home against the Baltimore Orioles.
"He's finally Yu Darvish," Washington said of the club's prized offseason pickup. "I don't know the date, but it was Boston. He found Yu Darvish then, and he's been Yu Darvish since. He was searching to find what he was capable of doing over here. And I think he realizes now that competing in a relaxed, trusting and believing, that there was something he was searching for all year and he finally found it. Which is what he is when he's at his best, which is what all pitchers are when they're at their best. It's not just those adjectives I've described as Yu Darvish. That's pitchers, period, when they're at their best."
The 26-year-old is 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 starts and 191 1-3 innings in his first major league season after a stellar career in Japan. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has 221 strikeouts to just 89 walks and was an All-Star.
He won his final four decisions and hasn't lost in six starts since Aug. 17.
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