Tale of the tape: Justin Verlander vs. Yu Darvish

May, 15, 2013
5/15/13
11:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Name a better ace versus ace matchup in the American League than Yu Darvish versus Justin Verlander.

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Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.

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Thursday night's matchup has a chance to be a classic battle of baseball's top right-handers. Combined, they have 10 wins and 137 strikeouts. Verlander has the better ERA at 1.93 to Darvish's 2.73. Darvish is 6-1 on the season; Verlander is 4-3.

Darvish has been tougher to hit, with a .163 opponents' batting average and 23 more strikeouts than Verlander, who has a .229 opponents' batting average.

Both came close to no-hitting the Astros. Here's a closer look at this marquee matchup at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington:

Awesome April: Verlander had the best April of his career in posting a 1.83 ERA. That's more than a half run better than last season (2.41), which was his previous career best for the month. He also had 41 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings, also his career high for the opening month. It's a little bit of a change for Verlander, who is 14-17 in 41 April starts during his career.

Darvish has had nine of his 22 career wins come in April, including a 5-1 mark this season. He had a 2.33 ERA and 58 strikeouts for the opening month, and came within an out of throwing a perfect game against Houston. He allowed only 23 hits in 38 2/3 innings.

Keeping it going: Verlander has won more games in May (25) than any other month during his career, and his 2.69 ERA probably has a lot to do with it. It's also been his best strikeout month with 264 -- 37 more than he's had in April.

Darvish's ERA has risen to 3.83 for this month, and he's given up the long ball, allowing four home runs after giving up just one in April. He's fallen behind early in starts against Boston and Houston, but he got stronger as those games went along and his offense rallied for a win and a no-decision.

Changing speeds: Verlander and Darvish rank among the top 13 pitchers in average fastball velocity this season, according to FanGraphs. Verlander, whose velocity has dropped slightly this season, still ranks 11th in the majors with an average fastball of 93.3 mph. Darvish is 13th at 93.0 mph.

Darvish and Verlander throw their changeup on average at the same speed: 86.7 mph. Verlander throws his slider a bit harder at 84.8 mph; Darvish averages 81.7.

The biggest difference comes, not surprisingly, with the curve. Verlander averages 78.6 mph, while Darvish tends to throw his much slower (66.9) and even drops below 60 mph at times.

Inside the numbers: Opposing hitters have five hits in 15 at-bats for a .333 batting average against Verlander with a full count. They are 1-for-21 against Darvish with 14 strikeouts. Verlander has four strikeouts with a 3-2 count. ... You better get to Darvish early. He's allowed nine of his 16 runs in the first inning. Verlander has allowed two of his 13 runs in the first inning -- both of those runs came in his previous start -- a 7-6 loss to Cleveland on Saturday. Verlander has allowed five runs in the second inning.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.325 14 53 52
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .889
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.88
SOY. Darvish 154