SAN DIEGO -- Rookie phenom Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.57 ERA) is set to take the mound in the Rangers' series finale with the Padres tomorrow afternoon at Petco Park. Darvish, who was nearly unhittable to start the season with a 2.18 ERA in his first six starts, is just 4-4 with a 4.53 ERA over his last eight outings. But the righty regained his early-season form in his last outing, an eight-inning, two-run performance against the Astros on Friday.
"I think command was better last outing," Darvish said. "The feel of the ball, the way it's coming out of my hand, it feels good."
Rangers manager Ron Washington agrees that Darvish's troubles were a product of the inability to spot his fastball.
"You look back at those outings, he was erratic with his command," Washington said. "Speaking with him, it was mechanical. He worked on his mechanics ... the key right now is just that he keep throwing strikes and he trust his fastball."
Darvish threw a bullpen Monday in preparation for Wednesday's start, his first against the Padres. He faced San Diego in Spring Training, but Darvish says he'll learn more from studying video of Padres hitters this week than he can glean from a Spring Training start.
Whatever the specifics of his approach to Padres hitters, Washington hopes to see his young star not only establish his fastball, but do it aggressively.
"What happened the other day is he began to turn that corner and trust his stuff ... he went out there and loaded up the strike zone with his other pitches, too, but he pitched off the fastball," Washington said. "Attack, trust his defense, trust his stuff. That's all he's gotta do."