HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers will try and even their season-opening series with the Houston Astros when they send right-hander Yu Darvish to the mound against Houston right-hander Lucas Harrell. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. on Ch. 21 and KSKY 660 AM.
Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA in 2012): He didn't get to start the opener, but this game is now more important after the Rangers dropping the opener to Houston. ... Darvish had a near perfect spring, finishing with a 1-1 record and a 1.98 ERA in four Cactus League starts. ... In his final spring start against Mexico City, Darvish had seven strikeouts, allowed one hit and threw 42 of his 52 pitches for strikes. ... Darvish started the fourth game of the season last year for the Rangers, beating Seattle. ... He was 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his first five major-league starts. ... Darvish finished last season with a 5-1 record and a 2.35 ERA in his final eight starts. ... He has faced Houston once, allowing two runs in eight innings to pick up the win. ... This is the first time he'll pitch at Minute Maid Park.
Harrell (11-11, 3.76 ERA in 2012): Harrell starts the Astros' second game for the second consecutive year. ... He led the Astros in wins (11), innings pitched (193 2/3) and starts (32) in 2012. ... He went five or more innings in all but one of his starts. ... He was second in the majors among rookies in innings pitched (Darvish was fourth). ... Harrell pitched well at Minute Maid Park with a 2.34 ERA, fifth best in the National League. ... He's perfect for Minute Maid because he gets ground ball outs. ... Harrell had a 2.44 ground ball/fly ball ratio last season, which ranked third in the majors. ... Harrell had a strong outing in his final spring start, allowing an earned run and four hits in six innings.
Hitters: Adrian Beltre (5-for-7, 4 RBIs), Nelson Cruz (2-for-6, HR, 3 RBIs) and David Murphy (2-for-6, HR, 3 RBIs) all have had success against Harrell. ... Justin Maxwell (1-for-3, HR) is the only returning Astros' player who had a hit against Darvish last season.