The Dodgers have the best rotation ERA in MLB (3.25), but they rank 12th in innings per start and only have one pitcher qualified for the ERA title (Clayton Kershaw). Among Dodgers starters with at least 10 starts this season, Kershaw is the only one averaging more than six innings per start.
Hyun-Jin Ryu has made 16 starts over the past three seasons and he's only pitched in the seventh inning three times this season. Rich Hill, currently in his 13th season, has only pitched 120 innings in a season once. Kenta Maeda made three postseason starts last season and didn't pitch more than four innings in any of them.
Darvish fills that need for the Dodgers as he averages 6 1/3 innings per start this season, and for his career.
Darvish has struggled a bit this season. He is coming off a career-high 10 earned runs in his last start on July 26. For the season, his ERA (4.01), strikeouts per nine innings (9.7) and home runs per nine innings (1.3) are all career worsts.
However, Darvish has been much better on the road this season than in his home park. He boasts a 2.49 ERA on the road, compared to a 5.38 ERA at Globe Life Park in Arlington. He ranks in the top 15 among starters in strikeout percentage (26 percent of plate appearances) and second-lowest walk percentage of his career (8 percent).
Moreover, the addition of Darvish gives the Dodgers a promising 1-2 punch for October. Out of the 104 pitchers with at least 100 starts since 2012 (the year Darvish debuted), he and Kershaw rank in the top 20 among starting pitchers in ERA, WHIP, IP per game and K's per nine IP.
The Dodgers now match up well with two of their most likely National League Championship Series foes: the Cubs and Nationals. The Cubs have the duo of Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, and the Nationals have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. All four of those players are in the top 20 in ERA among pitchers with at least 100 starts since 2012 (along with Kershaw and Darvish).