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Yu Darvish Becomes the 3rd Japanese Pitcher with a Combined 200 NPB and MLB Wins

Along with Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda, who had 203 career victories, and Hideo Nomo, who earned 201, are the other members of the elite pitching fraternity.

Since he was activated from the 15-day injured list with neck tightness on April 30, veteran pitcher Yu Darvish has been at the top of his game.

On Sunday, May 19, the five-time MLB All-Star extended his scoreless innings streak to 25, which includes four starts since he returned from the injury. Darvish's San Diego Padres teammates provided plenty of support in a 9-1 road triumph over the Atlanta Braves.

The 37-year-old starter held the Braves to two hits over seven innings. He struck out nine and walked one batter in a dynamic 99-pitch performance. For Darvish, it concluded by retiring the final 13 batters he faced. 

Most significantly, Darvish recorded his 200th career victory in the rout, becoming the third Japanese pitcher to reach that combined milestone in NPB and MLB. 

Trailblazer Hideo Nomo, whose instant success with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 ushered in a new era of opportunities for Japanese players in MLB, finished his career with 201 victories and a 123-109 record in the majors.

Hiroki Kuroda compiled a 79-79 record in MLB and amassed 203 total wins in his career before retiring in 2016.

Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish is interviewed after earning his 200th career win on May 19. (KYODO)

Yu Darvish Shares Thoughts on Reaching 200 Career Wins

What does becoming the third Japanese player to win a combined 200 games in the two leagues mean to Darvish?

"I understand it's a big number, but it's still hard for me to comprehend it right now," Darvish was quoted as saying through an interpreter after the game, MLB.com reported.

Darvish, who has a 107-86 record in the majors, called it an honor to accomplish something that his two pitching compatriots first achieved.

"Those two other pitchers, Hideo Nomo and Hiroki Kuroda, obviously we know how good they are," Darvish said, according to MLB.com. "Just to be able to be a little closer to them, I feel honored and it gives me confidence moving forward." 

Darvish is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA this season. 

Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish exits the game after retiring 13 straight batters and allowing zero runs in seven innings against the Atlanta Braves. (KYODO)

Over his last four starts (all wins), nobody has scored against Darvish. He held the Cincinnati Reds to three hits in five innings on April 30. Then he allowed three hits in five innings versus the Chicago Cubs on May 6. On May 12, the Los Angeles Dodgers were held to a pair of hits in Darvish's seven innings.

And then he pitched seven more scoreless innings against the Braves to reach 200 wins.

After Sunday's game, Padres manager Mike Shildt eloquently summed up Darvish's pitching exploits of late.

"Yu has been elite the last four times out," Shildt said, according to The Associated Press at Truist Park. "He's been nothing short of magnificent."

Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish has a 107-86 win-loss record in his MLB career. (Brett Davis/USA TODAY SPORTS)

'An Impressive Feat'

Putting Darvish's career in perspective, Shildt said the pitcher's sustained quality on the mound is noteworthy.

"Two hundred career wins between Japan and Major League Baseball, that is an impressive feat," Shildt said, according to MLB.com. "It's hard to even capture what he's done to be able to do that. Talk about dedication for a long time to his craft ― taking care of himself."

The Padres manager added, "My respect for him is off the charts. I always appreciate longevity statistics like this. It's a tribute to a career that's still going."

In an MLB career that began in 2012, Darvish has played for the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. He won 16 games for the Rangers in his MLB rookie season. The right-hander matched that number, his highest win total in MLB, in 2022 with the Padres.

Darvish had an exceptional career with NPB's Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before joining the Rangers, including a 93-38 record with a 1.93 ERA in seven seasons. 

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven.

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