Ron Washington announced that Yu Darvish will start the Rangers’ first playoff game whether it’s the one-game Wild Card matchup or Game 1 of the ALDS.
Matt Harrison pitched last night and Ryan Dempster starts Game 162 this afternoon, so Darvish was the obvious choice.
Darvish’s overall 3.90 ERA isn’t great and he’s struggled to consistently throw strikes while walking 89 batters in 191 innings, but he’s definitely shown the ability to dominate a lineup when on his game.
Darvish ranks second among AL pitchers with 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings and third in the league with a .220 opponents’ batting average. And he finished the season on a very strong note, going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 67/15 K/BB ratio in 57 innings over his final eight starts.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.