Originally written on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 9/15/12

When the Texas Rangers signed Yu Darvish this offseason it was thought he could be a huge piece to the team’s postseason puzzle, especially after the loss of staff ace C.J. Wilson to the Los Angeles Angels. Well, Darvish has been fantastic during his first season in the majors and that continued Friday night.

Darvish struck out nine in seven innings as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3. The former Pacific League MVP (Japan) improved to 15-9 and now has 205 strikeouts on the season. He also boasts a 4.02 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 184.2 innings.

The 26-year-old Japanese right-hander has been outstanding, and has now become the sixth American League rookie to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. Darvish is also the third AL rookie since 1976 to reach 200 strikeouts, Mark Langston (204 in 1984 for the Mariners) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (201 in 2007, for the Boston Red Sox).

Darvish also leads the majors with eight games of 10 or more strikeouts, including double-digit totals in six of his last 14 starts. He has joined Nolan Ryan (1989, 1990) as the only Rangers pitchers with eight or more 10-plus strikeout games in a single season.

Texas has firmly established itself as the favorite in the American League this year, and the team now boasts a record of 86-58. The Rangers have reached the World Series in each of the last two seasons, but the franchise has yet to capture a World Series title.

But thanks to Matt Harrison (16-9, 3.36 ERA) and Darvish, the Rangers have the kind of guys at the top of the rotation to compliment their powerful offense.

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