Yu Darvish and Matt Harvey started playing in the major leagues last year, but they have quickly moved into the role of an ace pitcher


Darvish joined the Texas Rangers last season after starring in the Japanese professional league. Harvey came up to the Mets last July.

This season, both pitchers are in a league of their own. Darvish is 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA, and Harvey 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA.

Darvish came within one out of throwing a perfect game in his first start of the season at Houston on April 2. The Rangers won the game 7-0.

“It’s a win,” Darvish said through a translator after the game. “A win’s a win. I went that far. I’m really satisfied. I think I got lucky today.”

Darvish, 26, leads the major leagues with 80 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 30 hits and walked 18. In his only loss, 3-1 to Seattle on April 12, Darvish felt he didn’t pitch well, despite giving up just three hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in six innings.

“I could have given up many runs in any inning,” Darvish said “I just didn’t have my stuff today.”

With 301 career strikeouts, Darvish joined Dwight Gooden (319) as the only pitchers in major league history to reach at least 300 Ks in his first 37 big league starts. He has struck out 14 batters twice this season, against the Astros in his first outing, and against Boston on May 5.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 216-pound right-hander beat the Astros again on Saturday, allowing three hits and three runs in seven innings, while fanning eight. Matt Dominguez hit two home runs against Darvish.

“I think the only thing he struggled with today was Dominguez,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Other than that, I thought he did a good job. He handled the rest of the lineup. He just threw two pitches to Dominguez that he didn’t miss.”

Harvey has become the Mets’ hope for the future. Going into Sunday’s game, the 24-year-old led the majors with a 1.44 ERA and was second with 62 strikeouts.

He was pitching a perfect game against the Chicago White Sox on May 7 until Alex Rios broke it up with an infield single with two outs in the seventh. Harvey pitched a career-high nine innings and had a career-high 12 strikeouts in the game that the Mets came out on top of, 1-0, in 10 innings.

It was Harvey’s 17th career major league start.

“I was having fun,” Harvey said told the New York Daily News. “Any time you go out there and are able to pitch like that and get outs, it becomes a lot of fun. Everything was obviously working. I can throw a slider for a strike, I can also bounce it when I need to. That’s when it starts getting fun. It’s the best I felt all year.”

It was the second time this season that Harvey flirted with a no-hitter. In a 4-2 win at Minnesota on April 13, Harvey had a no-hitter going with two outs in the seventh when Justin Morneau homered.

In Sunday’s start against Pittsburgh, Harvey had a no-decision in a 3-2 loss, but allowed just five hits and two runs with four strikeouts and two walks in seven innings pitched.

Harvey, a 6-foot-4-inch, 225-pound right-hander, started the season allowing one, three and two hits in his first three starts. With those impressive numbers, and his near perfect game last week, Harvey could get the second no-hitter in club history this season. Johan Santana pitched the franchise’s first no-hitter last year against St. Louis.

StatsWatch: The St. Louis Cardinals threw consecutive shutouts at the Colorado Rockies last Friday and Saturday, allowing two hits or fewer. Here are some interesting facts related to that feat:

  • Shelby Miller allowed one hit in Friday’s 3-0 win over the Rockies at Busch Stadium. He retired the last 27 batters.
  • Adam Wainwright took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Saturday’s 3-0 win and finished with a two-hitter.
  • It was the first time since September 27-28, 1973 that the Cardinals threw consecutive shutouts allowing two hits or fewer. Reggie Cleveland allowed one hit in a complete game, 2-0 win over the Chicago Cubs, followed by a combined two-hitter by Diego Segui and Mike Thompson in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Colorado had been hitless in 49 straight at-bats against the Cardinals before Nolan Arenado singled with one out in the eighth on Saturday.
  • Miller and Wainwright retired 40 consecutive batters with 18 strikeouts until Todd Helton walked with one out in the fifth in Saturday’s game.
  • The Rockies were tied for second in the NL in runs scored with 169, and tied for first in the NL in batting with a .266 average going into Sunday’s game.
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