ARLINGTON, Texas -- It happens a handful of times throughout the year, so you learn to cherish it: ace versus ace at Globe Life Park tonight.
Back then, Darvish was a big league rookie still trying to find his way. And it showed in both of their matchups. Darvish's numbers: 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA (11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings), nine strikeouts and 10 walks. Meanwhile, Hernandez allowed one run in 17 innings, with 19 strikeouts, two walks and a complete game.
But that's ancient history when talking about Darvish's progression. He pitched better late in 2012, even putting up a solid effort in the AL wild-card game, a loss to Joe Saunders and the Baltimore Orioles. Darvish carried that over into 2013 and was the Cy Young runner-up with a 2.83 ERA, a league-leading 277 strikeouts and a 1.073 WHIP. Darvish cut down on his walks and became an even better pitcher.
He's taking yet another step so far in 2014.
Darvish hasn't allowed a run in his first two starts (15 innings), while tallying 15 strikeouts and two walks. He went eight shutout innings against the Houston Astros, but got a no-decision as the Rangers scored the game's only run in the 12th inning for the walk-off win.
Hernandez also is off to a great start with the Seattle Mariners, going 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 innings and leading the league with 30 strikeouts.
This should be a fantastic matchup between two pitchers going against two lineups that have struggled to score runs consistently.
Harrison rehab: Matt Harrison wasn't happy with his last rehab start, pitching just 3 1/3 innings (77 pitches) on Monday. He allowed two earned runs on six hits. But he didn't come close to pitching five innings, which was what he wanted. Harrison said the cold weather impacted him and that he stiffened up after getting loose. He admitted that he let the wet weather and the fact that his start was delayed by a day get to him.
Harrison starts again Saturday in Frisco and hopes for 95 pitches and better results. The club doesn't have to make a decision on Harrison until the end of the first week of May, when his 30-day rehab window will be over. Harrison had pegged April 23 as his return day, though he's now on a different schedule with the postponed start.