Married to the former Seiko Yamamoto and has six children: five sons and one daughter...Attended Tohoku High School in northern Sendai, a school which also produced MLB pitchers Kazuhiro Sasaki and Takashi Saito…had a 1.10 ERA in his high school career, and pitched a no-hitter against Kumamoto Technical High School in the first round of the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament on March 26, 2004...Drafted by the Fighters in the first round on Nov. 17, 2004, and signed Dec. 17...The Space 11 Darvish Museum, which contains over 100 items related to Darvish as well as interactive displays, opened in Kobe, Japan in November 2013...Had a mural painted of him in the Convoy District in Kearny Mesa by Ground Floor Murals.
Reached the 30-start plateau for the 4th time in his career (also: 2013 w/ TEX, ‘17 w/ TEX & LAD and ‘19 with CHC)…earned his 5th career All-Star selection, one of five Padres to represent SD but did not travel to Denver due to injury (left hip inflammation)...Ranked 2nd on the staff behind Joe Musgrove in a multitude of categories, including starts (30), innings pitched (166.1) and strikeouts (199)...His 10.77 SO/9 IP was the highest in a single season in franchise history among all qualifying pitchers...His 4.65 SO/BB ratio was the third-highest in franchise history, trailing only Kevin Brown in 1998 (5.24) and David Wells in 2004 (5.05)…his 1.09 WHIP was T-11th lowest full season WHIP in franchise history...Beginning with his second start April 6 vs. SF, Darvish strung together five consecutive starts of at least 6.0 IP and one earned run-or-fewer from April 6-30, one of just eight pitchers in 2021 to put together such a streak (also: Max Scherzer, Kyle Gibson, Jacob deGrom, Walker Buehler, Brandon Woodruff, Triston McKenzie and Kevin Gausman- Gausman had a 6-game streak)...it was the 2nd-longest such streak of his career, behind only his seven consecutive starts of one earned-or-fewer across 6.0 IP+ in 2020 (July 31-Sept. 4)...He had a 2.44 ERA through his first 16 starts...in his 14 starts after July 1, he posted a 6.65 ERA...the +4.21 ERA differential among all ML pitchers who threw at least 60.0 IP prior to July 1 and 60.0 IP from July 1 through the end of the season was 10th all-time, trailing only STL's Luis Arroyo in 1955 (+5.28), and the highest since KC’s Jason Vargas in 2016…prior to Darvish and Vargas, the highest such ERA increase was DET’s Jeff Weaver in 1999 (+4.44)...Darvish went 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in July, the highest ERA in a single calendar month in his entire career...He made two starts and went 2-0 during the Padres' 9-0 perfect homestand from May 14-23, tossing a combined 14.0 innings of one run ball, striking out 15 and walking none...his 4 H/10 SO/0 BB performance on 5/17 vs. COL preceded Musgrove's 2 H/11 SO/0 BB outing 2 days later, marking the 1st series in SD history in which 2 starters...threw 7.0 innings while allowing four hits-or-fewer with 0 BB and 10+ SO...Also, vs. COL on May 17, Darvish became the 2nd NL pitcher to throw 7.0+ shutout innings with 10+ SO on fewer than 85 pitches since pitches were first tracked in 1988... the other was ATL's Greg Maddux on Sept. 23, 2000 (also exactly 81 pitches)...On June 21 vs. LAD, he earned his 7th win of the season and became the 1st Padre to strike out 7-or-more consecutive batters in a game since Jake Peavy on Aug. 27, 2007, vs. ARI (also 7 strikeouts)...it was his 197th career game (all starts), and he became the 1st player in ML history to reach 1,500 strikeouts in fewer than 200 games...he was also the fastest in terms of innings pitched (1,216.1)...Made his 200th career start in his 1st start following the All-Star break on 7/8 vs. WSH, his 1,517 strikeouts through his 1st 200 starts were 4th-most all-time, trailing only Chris Sale (1,628), Pedro Martinez (1,600) and Nolan Ryan (1,574)...His final winning decision came Sept. 8 vs. LAA...it was his first winning decision since June 21 vs. LAD, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive starts between winning decisions (0-7, 6.84 ERA)...Darvish’s 13th and final quality start of the campaign came on Sept. 18 at STL in SD’s 3-2 defeat, marking the 22nd time in his career he tossed 7.0+ shutout-innings, and just the sixth time he did not factor into a win...On Sept. 13 at SF, he allowed eight earned runs, which were the second-most of his career, behind only the 10 ER he allowed on July 26, 2017, vs. MIA while with TEX...the four HR tied for the most he's surrendered in a single outing, with the other four HR outing also coming off the bats of the Giants on Aug. 21, 2019...the Giants jumped on Yu early on Sept. 13, to the tune of five earned runs in the first frame, the most he's allowed in a 1st inning in his career (previous was four multiple times)...Posted a 3.38 ERA at home with 6.75 H/9 compared to a 5.54 ERA with 8.58 H/9 on the road…since he began his ML career with TEX in 2012, among all pitchers who have tossed at least 500.0 IP in away games, only Clayton Kershaw (6.86) and Max Scherzer (6.89) have allowed fewer H/9.0 IP on the road than Darvish (7.06)...His 4.38 run support average was 8th-lowest in the majors and seventh-lowest in the NL among all qualifying pitchers…he received no runs of support in five of his 30 starts, one-or-fewer 11 times and two or-fewer on 19 occasions...On one-pitch at-bats, opponents hit .411 (23-56) vs. Darvish… with two strikes, they hit .137 (51-373)...The 2513 rpm spin rate on his fastball ranked in the 99thpercentile, with opponents hitting .153 (18-118) off it with a 34.3% whiff rate...Relied on six pitches: Cutter (24%), Slider (23%), 4-Seam Fastball (22%), Sinker (8%), Curveball (8%) and Split Finger (5%).
Finished 2nd behind Trevor Bauer in the NL Cy Young race, going 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA (17 ER/76.0 IP) in 12 starts, including 10 quality starts...he struck out 93 batters and walked just 14, good for a 6.64 SO/BB ratio...Among NL pitchers, he ranked 1st in wins, 2nd in ERA and SO/BB ratio, 3rd in IP, T-4th in SO and 4th in WHIP (0.96)....Earned NL Pitcher of the Month honors for July-August, going 6-1 with a 1.47 ERA (7 ER/43.0 IP) in 7 starts, striking out 52 batters and walking just 8...Allowed 1 run-or-fewer in 8 of his 12 starts...tied for the ML lead with 10 quality starts...Notched 3 double-digit strikeout games, including 2 games with 11 punch outs... Won a career-high 7-straight games in 7 outings from July 31-Sept. 4, posting a 0.98 ERA (5 ER, 46.0 IP) during that time frame, as well as an opp. AVG of .186 (30-for-161), a strikeout rate of 11.35 per nine innings (58 total strikeouts), and 8 walks...Notched his 1,300th-career strikeout May 25 vs. MIL, becoming the fastest pitcher in ML history to reach the mark, both by batters faced (4,360) and IP (1,052.0)
POSTSEASON: Saddled with the loss in Game 2 of the Wild Card series vs. MIA, getting no runs of support across his 6.2 IP of 5-hit, 2-run ball in CHC's 2-0 defeat.
Yu had a dominant second half of the season, posting a 2.76 ERA (25 ER/81.2 IP) with 118 strikeouts in 13 starts following the All-Star break...overall, went 6-8 with a 3.98 ERA (79 ER/178.2 IP) in a team-high tying 31 starts in his second season with Chicago...Led all Cubs pitchers with 229 strikeouts (tied for seventh-most in the N.L.)...had six games with at least 10 strikeouts, the most by a Cub since Mark Prior had six such games in 2005...Struck out a single-game franchise-record eight-straight batters, September 17 vs. Cincinnati, beginning with a strikeout of Sonny Gray in the second...In his final three starts of the season, struck out a combined 39 batters, including a season-high 14 strikeouts, September 12 at San Diego...Became the first Cub since at least 1908 to record 12-or-more strikeouts in three-straight starts...Limited opponents to a .213 average and a .284 OBP...allowed five or fewer hits in 22 of his 31 starts...however, allowed a career-high 33 homers...Was 2-4 with a 5.01 ERA (54 ER/97.0 IP) in 18 starts prior to the All-Star Break...Did not allow a walk in a career-high five-straight starts, July 30-August 21, the first Cubs starting pitcher to do so since Bill Faul, July 25-August 14, 1965 (five-straight starts)...became the only MLB player since 1893 with at least eight strikeouts and no walks in five-straight games...thanks to Elias..Walked two-or-fewer batters in a career-high 18-straight starts from June 10 through season's end...led the majors with a 12.58 SO/BB ratio during that span (151 SO/12 BB)...prior to June 10, had a 1.77 SO/BB ratio (78 SO/44 BB), which was the sixth-worst mark in the majors during that span...Finished August 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA (12 ER/31.1 IP) in five starts, striking out 42 and walking just one...became just the fourth pitcher in the last 126 seasons since 1893 to strike out 40 or more and walk no more than one batter in a month...Joins Cliff Lee (54 SO, 1 BB in September 2013), Jeff Samardzija (49 SO, 1 BB in May 2017) and Corey Kluber (41 SO, 1 BB in May 2018)...Recorded consecutive outings of 6.0-scoreless innings, July 12-17...marked the third time in his career he accomplished the feat (April 6-11, 2014 and April 19-24, 2013)...earned his first-career win at Wrigley Field, July 17 vs. the Reds...Took a no-decision in a career-high and club-record 10-straight starts, May 4-June 21...marked the longest streak by a starting pitcher (excluding openers) since Philadelphia's Randy Lerch took 10-straight no-decisions, May 21-July 7, 1977.
Yu made eight starts for Chicago before his season ended due to injury, as he landed on the 10-day D.L., May 26 (retroactive to May 23), with right triceps tendinitis ... went 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA (22 ER/40.0 IP) in his first season with the Cubs, walking 21 and striking out 49 ... Made his Cubs debut, March 31 at the Marlins, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings ... walked two and struck out four ... Pitched 5.0 scoreless innings after allowing one unearned run in the first inning of the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Brewers, April 27 ... also hit his second-career double in the fifth inning, his first hit with the Cubs ... Was on the 10-day D.L. from May 4-15 due to parainfluenza virus ... returned with 4.0 innings of work, allowing one run, May 15 in Atlanta, departing the game due to a leg cramp ... Earned the win his final start of the season, May 20 at Cincinnati ... allowed one run in 6.0 innings, walking three and striking out seven ... would be placed on the disabled list six days later with right triceps tendinitis ... Made a rehab appearance with Single-A South Bend, June 25, and allowed one run in 5.0 innings ... experienced elbow discomfort during the outing and was shut down ... Had a second rehab appearance with South Bend, August 18, and departed after 1.0 inning ... an exam the following day showed a stress reaction to the tip of his right elbow, as well as a triceps strain, and he was shut down for the remainder of the season ... Underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right elbow, September 12, performed by Dr. Keith Meister.
Yu made 31 starts between the Rangers and Dodgers, his most games started since a career-high 32 games in 2013 ... went a combined 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA (80 ER/186.2 IP) and 209 strikeouts, his third season with at least 200 strikeouts... Limited righties to a .194 average, the seventh-lowest mark in the majors ... overall held opponents to a .228 average, the 13th-best mark in the majors... Acquired by the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline in a four-player trade with the Texas Rangers … went 4-3 in nine starts with Los Angeles, posting a 3.44 ERA (19 ER/49.2 IP) and struck out 61 batters against 13 walks … held hitters to a .235 average and posted a 1.15 WHIP... Went 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA (1 ER/19.1 IP) in his final three regular season starts, striking out 21 batters against just one walk... Notched his 1,000th-career strikeout, September 8 vs. Colorado ... became the fastest pitcher to reach the mark both in terms of games (128) and innings pitched (812.0 IP). © In 15 starts on the road, he went 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA (25 ER/92.1 IP) and struck out 105 batters against just 28 walks... In 22 starts with the Rangers, he went 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA (61 ER/137.0 IP) and limited the opposition to a .225 average, while punching out 148 batters against 45 walks... Selected to the A.L. All-Star team for the fourth time in his career, most by a pitcher in Rangers history ... was not eligible to pitch in the game since he started Texas' game on the Sunday prior to the All-Star break... Went 2-2 with a 6.14 ERA (10 ER/14.2 IP) in four postseason starts ... was 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA (2 ER/11.1 IP) in his first two postseason outings, including collecting the win in NLCS Game Three at Wrigley Field (6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) ... however, he allowed eight earned runs in 3.1 IP in two World Series starts.
Darvish returned to the mound for the first time since 2014, but was limited to 17 starts due to a pair of disabled list stints as he returned from 'Tommy John' surgery on 3/17/14… finished 7-5, 3.41 (38 ER/100.1 IP) in 17 starts with Texas, posting a 1.116 WHIP along with 31 BB/132 SO…averaged 11.8 SO/9, and his 4.25 SO/BB ratio was easily the best in any season in his career…produced 3 of his 4 highest game scores (baseball-reference.com) in September…among pitchers with at least 50.0 innings after the All-Star break, Darvish's 12.01 SO/9 (113 SO/84.2 IP) ranked 2nd in MLB to only ARI's Robbie Ray (12.04). SUMMAR
Missed the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery March 17...left his Spring Training start March 5 vs. Kansas City with right triceps tightness...Surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla...the ligament in Darvish’s elbow was replaced with the Palmaris tendon from his right forearm.
Despite making just 22 starts and missing the last seven weeks of the season due to right elbow inflammation, Darvish was selected Rangers Pitcher of the Year for a 2nd straight season...led the team in strikeouts (182, 10th in A.L.) and quality starts (14), and tied for club lead in wins (10) in his 3rd MLB season...also ranked among team leaders in complete games (T1st, 2), innings (2nd, 144.1), and starts (T3rd)...opponents batted career-high .241 (133-551), but hit just .180 (24-133) with RISP, 2nd-lowest in A.L. and 3rd in MLB (CIN's Johnny Cueto-.161, BAL's Bud Norris-.173) among pitchers with 145+ BF.
Was the Rangers Pitcher of the Year…led the majors with 277 strikeouts, the highest total in the American League since 2000, and 11.89 strikeouts per 9.0 innings…allowed the A.L.'s lowest opponents batting average (.194) and fewest hits per 9.0 innings (6.22), ranked 3rd among league qualifiers in fewest baserunners per 9.0 innings (10.00) and was 4th in earned run average (2.83), 6th lowest in team history, and WHIP (1.07)…also led the Rangers in wins (13) and finished 2nd in innings (204.0) and starts (31)...Opened the season by going 7-1, 2.97 (20 ER/60.2 IP) in his first 9 starts through May 16…was the Rangers April Player of the Month at 5-1, 2.33 over 6 starts while tying the club record for wins in that month…went 5-0, 3.07 (14 ER/41.0 IP) over 6 games from April 19-May 16, the longest winning streak of his career. Posted a 1-3 record and 3.07 ERA (20 ER/58.2 IP) over his next 9 starts from May 21-July 6 with lone victory in that span coming on June 30 vs. CIN…was on DL for next 15 days (see next page) but returned to go 4-1, 1.31 (5 ER/34.1 IP) over 5 outings from July 22-Aug. 12…went 0-4, 3.38 (15 ER/40.0 IP) over his next 6 starts, his longest ML losing streak, before winning on Sept. 19 at TB…was 1-0, 3.38 (6 ER/16.0 IP) over last 3 starts, pitching less than 6.0 innings in all 3 games…overall, was 5-5, 2.59 in 14 starts after the All-Star break... Pitched at least 6.0 no-hit innings 3 times, matching the Mets' Matt Harvey for the most in the majors…retired the first 26 batters in season debut on April 2 at HOU before Marwin Gonzalez's single…fanned 14 in his 8.2 innings before Michael Kirkman recorded final out…was the first Ranger to ever lose a no-hitter as late as 8.2 innings, first in the majors to do so since Detroit's Armando Galarraga on June 2, 2010 vs. CLE…San Francisco's Yusmeiro Petit (Sept. 6 vs. ARI) and St. Louis' Michael Wacha (Sept. 24 vs. WSH) also lost no hitters with 2 outs in the 9th in 2013...Tossed 5.2 perfect innings and 7.1 no-hit innings with 15 strikeouts on Aug. 12 at HOU, settling for a combined one-hitter w/ Joe Nathan (1.0 IP)…only hit was solo HR to Carlos Corporan w/ one out in 8th…is only ML pitcher since 1900 to win 2 games in a career (April 2 at HOU & Aug. 12 at HOU) w/ 14+ K's, one-or-zero hits, and one-or-zero BB…is also first pitcher in expansion era (since 1961) with multiple no-hit bids of 7+ IP against same team in a season…the only other pitcher since 1900 to have a 15-strikeout game with a home run as only hit allowed was Boston's Pedro Martinez on 9/10/99 at NYY…the last Texas pitcher to have 2 no-hitters broken up in 8th-or-later in same season was Ryan in 1989 with 5 (Elias Sports Bureau).
Went 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA (83 ER/191.1 IP) in 29 games/starts with Texas in his major league debut...led all ML first-year pitchers with 221 strikeouts and 191.1 innings while ranking T1st in wins...set club records for wins and strikeouts by a rookie...overall, had the A.L.'s 3rd-lowest opponents' batting average (.220), 2ndbest strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio (10.4), and also ranked among the league leaders in strikeouts (5th), walks (4th, 89), wins (T6th), and winning percentage (7th, .640)...on the Rangers' staff, was first in strikeouts and opponents' batting average and 2nd in earned run average (3.90), wins, starts (29), and innings...joined Cleveland's Herb Score in 1955 as the only rookies in A.L. history with at least 16 wins and 210 strikeouts in a season, just the 5th such rookie in the modern era (since1900)...ALL-STAR: Was selected to the A.L. All-Star team by virtue of winning the final man voting with over 7.3 million votes...did not pitch in the July 10 game at KC...was the 9th Japanese player selected to the All-Star Game and 2nd starting pitcher, joining the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo, who was also selected as a rookie in 1995.
WINS: Tied Arizona's Wade Miley for tops among ML rookies with 16 victories, matching the Yankees' Ivan Nova (16 in 2011) for the most by an A.L. rookie since Detroit's Justin Verlander had 17 in 2006...joined Miley as just the 7th and 8th rookies with 16+ wins since 1990...was the first season with more than one ML rookie with 16+ wins since 1984 (Dwight Gooden and Mark Langston-17 each)...previous club record for wins by a rookie was 12 on 3 occasions, last by Chris Young in 2005...was the 5th time a native of Japan (first rookie) has recorded as many as 16 victories in a season: 18 by Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2008, and 16 for Nomo in 1996, 2002, and 2003...earned 16 victories in his first 28 ML starts, best ever for a Ranger...was 10-2, 3.88 in 14 starts at Rangers Ballpark, tying for 3rd in the A.L. in home victories, the most by a Ranger since C.J. Wilson (11) in 2010...won all 3 starts against A.L.-champion Detroit, the first rookie with as many as 3 wins vs. the Tigers since Seattle's Freddy Garcia and Toronto's Roy Halladay were both 3-0 in 1999...won both starts against the National League...had 10 wins at All-Star break, 2 more than any other rookie in club history...STRIKEOUTS: Fanned 221 batters, matching the 5th-highest total in club history and most since 1990 (Nolan Ryan-232; Bobby Witt-221)...previous team rookie mark was 189 by Edwin Correa in 1986...tied the 7th-most for a ML rookie since 1900, the most since the Cubs' Kerry Wood (233) in 1998...are the 2nd-most ever for an A.L. rookie behind Herb Score (245) in 1955...recorded his 200th strikeout in his 27th game on Sept. 14 vs. SEA, tying the 4th-fewest outings since 1918 for a pitcher to reach 200 career K's: 23-Nomo and Wood; 25-Dwight Gooden; 27-Mark Prior...had his 100th career strikeout in 15th game on June 26 vs. DET, fewest contests ever for a Ranger...had 2 streaks of exactly 5 straight starts of 7+ strikeouts (April 24-May 16; Aug. 1-28), first pitcher in Rangers history with multiple 5-game streaks in one season...no Ranger had posted 7+ K's in 5 straight since 1990 (Ryan and Witt)...Recorded 10-or-more strikeouts 8 times, the most in the majors in 2012 and matching Nolan Ryan in 1990 for the 2nd-most in club history behind Ryan's 18 in 1989...also ranked 2nd in the majors...with 12 games of 9+ K's and 15 games of 8+ K's (tied with Mets' R.A. Dickey), trailing only Detroit's Max Scherzer in both categories...was 3rd ML pitcher since 1918 with at least 8 games of 10+ K's in first 24 career games (Nomo/Gooden-10 each)...fanned high of 11 batters 4 times: May 6 at CLE, June 15 at HOU, July 1 vs. OAK and July 21 at LAA...registered at least one strikeout in 14 consecutive innings pitched, June 20-July 1, the longest streak by a Ranger since Ugueth Urbina (14, June 18-July 9, 2003) and the longest by a ML rookie since Atlanta's Brandon Beachy (16, Sept. 7-24, 2011)...recorded 111 strikeouts in Arlington, 2nd-highest single-season figure ever by a pitcher at Rangers Ballpark (Aaron Sele-115 in 1999)...his 110 K's on the road were 5th-most in Rangers history...INNINGS AND RUNS: His 191.1 innings were the 3rd-most ever by a Ranger rookie behind Mike Smithson (223.1 in 1983) and Edwin Correa (202.1 in 1986)...worked 7.0-or-more innings 13 times with a high of 8.1 frames on April 24 vs. NYY...pitched 7.0+ innings in final 6 and 11 of last 16 outings...issued 2-or-fewer runs 11 times with shutout performances on April 24 vs. NYY (8.1 IP) and Aug. 28 vs. TB (7.0 IP).
Went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA (37 ER/232.0 IP) for Hokkaido in his final season in Japan...the 1.44 ERA was the lowest of his career, as he also posted career highs in wins (18), strikeouts (276), innings (232.0), starts (28), and shutouts (6)...matched career low with 5 HR allowed (also 2010)...led NPB in strikeouts, innings, opponents average (.190), shutouts (tied), home runs per 9 innings (0.19), opponents OBP (.229), and opponents slugging (.241)...the opponents OBP and slugging figures were career lows...ranked among circuit leaders in ERA (2nd), complete games (2nd), strikeout/walk ratio (3rd, 7.67), and wins (T3rd)... tossed at least 7.0 innings in every outing last season, with his lone outing of more than 3 runs coming in his first start...his career-low run support average of 3.10 runs per nine innings ranked 23rd out of NPB's 33 qualifying pitchers...received one or zero runs of support in four of his six defeats.
Went 12-8 with a 1.78 ERA (40 ER/202.0 IP) in 26 games/25 starts...his 5 HR allowed matched a career low (also 2011)...the 8 losses were a career high, as he received 2-runs-or-less of support in 7 of those 8 defeats...opponents batted .216 (158-733)...led all NPB pitchers in ERA for a 2nd straight year, and also had most strikeouts (222) and complete games (10)...had circuit's lowest average of HR per 9 innings (0.22) and opponents slugging pct. (.273)...ranked among NPB leaders in opponents average (2nd), strikeouts per 9 innings (2nd, 9.89), opponents OBP (3rd, .268), SO/BB ratio (3rd, 4.72), and quality starts (T3rd, 21)... posted 12 consecutive quality starts from April 24-July 17, went 6- 4 with a 1.14 ERA (12 ER/95.0 IP)...Hokkaido finished 4th in the PL and did not make the postseason.
Was named Pacific League MVP, his 2nd such honor (also 2007), becoming just the 10th pitcher in the history of Japanese professional baseball to win multiple MVP awards...was also named to PL Best Nine...went 15- 5, 1.73 (35 ER/182.0 IP) in 23 games/starts, with the ERA being 2nd-lowest figure of his career...opponents batted .186 (118-635), best in NPB...also had circuit's lowest opponents OBP (.246) and slugging (.263) figures...his 0.45 home runs per 9 innings was best among qualifiers...also ranked among NPB leaders in ERA (2nd), wins (T4th), strikeouts (5th, 167), and quality starts (T6th, 20)...allowed more than 3 runs just twice: July 8 at Saitama (4) and Aug. 21 at Fukuoka (6)...in the latter contest, he matched a career high by allowing 2 home runs, also the last time he permitted multiple home runs in a NPB contest...named PL Monthly MVP in May after going 4-0, 0.90 (4 ER/40.0 IP) in 5 starts...allowed career-high 19 steals...his only postseason outing was a win in Japan Series Game 2 on Nov. 1 vs. Yomiuri at Sapporo Dome (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 RER), but his club would lose the series 4-games-to-2...Hokkaido won the Pacific League, giving them a first-round bye, and Darvish did not pitch in the "season stage" against Tohoku...WBC: Went 2-1, 2.08 (3 ER/13.0 IP) in 5 games/2 starts for Japan in the World Baseball Classic...opponents batted .156 (7-45) with no extra-base hits, 6 walks, and 20 strikeouts...started the Pool A opener on March 5 vs. China at Tokyo Dome, a 4-0 win (4.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 SO)...pitched scoreless relief inning (no decision) of 1-0 loss on March 9 vs. South Korea, but his club still advanced...took loss in start on March 17 vs. South Korea (5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R-2 ER), a 4-1 defeat at PETCO Park, his only Round 2 appearance...was on the mound to finish Japan wins in both the semifinals and finals on March 22-23 at Dodger Stadium...retired Derek Jeter (groundout), David Wright (K swinging), and Adam Dunn (K looking) in the 9th inning to complete a 9-4 win over the U.S. in the semis...in finals, once again vs. South Korea, gave up game-tying single in the 9th, but tossed a scoreless bottom of the 10th to earn the 5-3 win after Ichiro Suzuki's 2-run single in the top half of the frame.
Went 16-4, 1.88 (42 ER/200.2 IP) in 25 games/24 starts, the 2ndhighest win total of his career...was named the PL Monthly MVP 3 times: March (1-0, 18.0 scoreless innings), April (4-0, 1.54), and September (5-0, 1.29)...won a Pacific League Golden Glove Award for a second straight year...opposition hit .195 (136-696) with a .252 OBP, both lowest in NPB...ranked among leaders in ERA (2nd), strikeouts (2nd, 208), opponents SLG (2nd, .283), wins (3rd), SO/BB ratio (4th, 4.73), quality starts (T4th w/ Colby Lewis, 21), and HR per 9 (6th, 0.49)...allowed more than 3 runs just 3 times all year...his ERA climbed above 2.00 just twice all season...won 5 straight starts both June 17-July 17 and Sept. 2-29...won both postseason starts, both complete game efforts in which he did not permit an earned run (18.0 IP)...won in first round Game 1 at Orix, a 4-1 victory as Hokkaido won that series 2-games-to-none...also won second round Game 2 at Saitama 5-0, but his club would lose the series 3-games-to-2...took a leave to represent Japan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, going 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA (4 ER/7.0 IP) and 10 strikeouts in 3 games/one start...pitched in relief twice against a U.S. squad that included former Ranger Taylor Teagarden, including in the bronze medal game that Japan lost.
Won his lone career Eiji Sawamura Award, which honors the top starting pitcher in NPB, and was named Pacific League MVP... named to PL's Best Nine, won a Golden Glove Award, and was named an All-Star, all of which were career firsts...went 15-5, 1.82 (42 ER/207.2 IP) in 26 games/starts in what was his first career 200-strikeout season...opponents batted career-low .174 (123-706) as he posted career-best 12 complete games, both the top figures in NPB...also led all pitchers with 210 K's, .241 opponents OBP, and .246 SLG against...his 26 starts and 207.2 innings rank as 2nd-most of his career...ranked among NPB leaders in HR/9 (2nd, 0.39), innings (3rd), wins (T4th), and quality starts (T5th, 20)...beginning July 6, went 9-1, 1.16 (12 ER/93.0 IP) over his final 12 starts...was named PL Monthly MVP in August (5-0, 1.35)... Hokkaido repeated as PL champions in manager Trey Hillman's final season, and received a bye...club then beat Bobby Valentine's Chiba Lotte Marines in the second round, 3-games-to-2, with Darvish winning starts in Games 1 (CG, 9.0 IP, 2 R-ER) and 5 (6.2 IP, 1 R-ER)...he earned the club's lone win in a Japan Series rematch vs. Chunichi, going the distance in Game 1 at Sapporo Dome in a 3-1 victory (9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER, 3 BB, 13 SO)...he took the 1-0 loss in decisive Game 5 (7.0 IP), a contest in which Nippon Ham was blanked on a combined perfect game...would pitch for a Japan team that won Gold Medal at the Asian Baseball Championship in Taiwan in December.
Went 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA (48 ER/149.2 IP) in 25 games/24 starts in his first full season with Hokkaido, as club won its first Japan Series title since 1961...he posted the 6th-best ERA in the PL, 2nd on his club behind Tomoya Yagi (2.48)...his 12 wins tied Yagi for the team lead and ranked T5th in the PL...opponents hit .237...he was 5-1, 1.03 (7 ER/61.1 IP) in 9 games/8 starts at Sapporo Dome...allowed a career-high 12 HR for the season...lost 5 of his first 7 decisions...beginning May 18, went 11-1, 2.34 (28 ER/107.2 IP) over his final 18 games/17 starts...made 3 starts in the postseason, going 2-1, 2.01 (5 ER/22.1 IP)...started club's first postseason game, which came in second round due to bye for the PL champions...earned 3-1 win vs. Fukuoka at Sapporo Dome on Oct. 11 (CG, 9.0 IP, 7 H, 1 RER) and Hokkaido would win both games to take the series...took loss in Game 1 of Japan Series at Chunichi, giving up a 2-0 lead in that contest (6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R-ER) in a 4-2 defeat...was brought back 5 days later for Game 5 at Sapporo Dome, earning the 4-1 win to clinch the title for Hokkaido...with his victory in that series' Game 5, he became just the 5th pitcher in NPB history to win a Japan Series game prior to turning 21 years old...was the Asian Series MVP in Hokkaido's win over Taiwan's La New Bears following the Japan Series.
Made his NPB debut at the age of 18 on June 15 vs. Hiroshima at Sapporo Dome (W, 8.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R-ER)...gave up back-to-back solo HR in the 9th, but became the 12th pitcher in NPB history to earn a win in a pro debut as a rookie straight out of high school...pitched his first complete game in a 3-0 loss on Aug. 6 vs. Seibu at Sapporo...posted first career shutout in penultimate regular season start at Sapporo on Sept. 18 vs. Tohoku (9.0 IP, 2 H), becoming only the 14th pitcher in NPB history to throw a complete game shutout as a rookie out of high school.