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Darvish's LA debut comes in NY vs. Mets, deGrom

MLB.com

The Dodgers' pursuit of Yu Darvish was a roller coaster. But L.A. got its man without parting with a top prospect, and Darvish will make his first start for Los Angeles on Friday at Citi Field in New York against Jacob deGrom and the Mets.

If there could be a buzzer beater for non-waiver Trade Deadline deals, the Darvish acquisition was it. The Rangers had been adamant about receiving either top prospect Alex Verdugo or Walker Buehler, but changed their demands less than a half hour before the Deadline and accepted instead Willie Calhoun. The news of the trade broke about 20 minutes after the Deadline had passed, setting off a frenzy on social media.

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The Dodgers' pursuit of Yu Darvish was a roller coaster. But L.A. got its man without parting with a top prospect, and Darvish will make his first start for Los Angeles on Friday at Citi Field in New York against Jacob deGrom and the Mets.

If there could be a buzzer beater for non-waiver Trade Deadline deals, the Darvish acquisition was it. The Rangers had been adamant about receiving either top prospect Alex Verdugo or Walker Buehler, but changed their demands less than a half hour before the Deadline and accepted instead Willie Calhoun. The news of the trade broke about 20 minutes after the Deadline had passed, setting off a frenzy on social media.

View Full Game Coverage

"It is an honor to be here and to play for such a great team that is having a good season," Darvish said through an interpreter after throwing a bullpen session on Wednesday.

"I got a chance to watch his 'pen, and he was very focused and was a really good worker. The body is physical, and just seeing him in the 'pen, I was really excited," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "We have a very good group of players here, and coaches. He doesn't need to do anything different, as this is a very welcoming environment, and we just want him to be himself."

Darvish missed all of 2015 with Tommy John surgery but came back to start 17 games the following year, pitching to a 3.41 ERA with 137 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings. In 2017, Darvish hasn't been as sharp but still made his fourth All-Star team in five seasons. This season, he's got a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts, but much of that can be attributed to a poor July -- Darvish gave up seven runs to the Red Sox on July 4 and 10 runs to the Marlins in his last start July 26. That's accounted for almost 30 percent of the 61 earned runs he's been charged with all year.

Opposing Darvish will be Mets ace deGrom, who had an eight-start win streak snapped in his last start against the Mariners. deGrom has been lights-out over his previous nine starts, owning a 1.73 ERA and an opposing OPS of .539 in that stretch. deGrom did not face L.A. when the two teams last met in late June -- a four-game Dodgers sweep.

Three things to know about this game

• Darvish faced the Mets on June 7 with the Rangers, going 7 1/3 innings and giving up 3 runs. He struck out nine and walked just one. It was a much better outing than his first and only other start vs. the Mets, when Darvish gave up four runs in five innings on July 4, 2014.

• In his first 97 career starts, deGrom has allowed one run or fewer 43 times, tied with Dwight Gooden for the most such starts in the Majors since 1913. deGrom has had nine such starts this season out of 21 total outings.

Darvish allowed a robust .595 weighted on-base average (.595) in his final Rangers start, but just a .325 expected wOBA based on the quality of contact he gave up - right near the MLB average wOBA of .327. According to Statcast, that 270-point gap between actual and expected wOBA is the third highest for any start this season in which a pitcher faced at least 20 batters.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.