Darvish debuts for Dodgers on road vs. Mets

NEW YORK -- It took a lot longer than New York Mets fans wanted, but those strolling into Citi Field on Friday night will get their first in-person major league glance at star prospect Amed Rosario.

The wait for Los Angeles Dodgers fans to see Yu Darvish was a lot shorter.

Darvish makes his debut for the baseball-best Dodgers on Friday night when Los Angeles opposes the Mets and the recently promoted Rosario in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Darvish (6-9, 4.01 ERA) was acquired from the Texas Rangers in exchange for three prospects moments before Monday's trade deadline. He is scheduled to oppose Mets ace Jacob deGrom (12-4, 3.29 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

The Dodgers (76-32) beat the Braves 7-4 in Atlanta on Thursday -- their 41st win in the past 48 games. The Mets (49-57) fell to the Rockies 5-4 in Colorado.

Rosario, viewed by most as one of the top five prospects in baseball entering the season, hit .328 with seven home runs, 58 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 94 games for Triple-A Las Vegas before finally recalled prior to the Tuesday series opener against the Rockies.

The 21-year-old did nothing to dissuade the notion the promotion was long overdue by going 3-for-12 with two triples at Coors Field. He also displayed a range and flair unseen this season from the Mets' previous shortstops, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes.

"He's the future of the organization," Reyes said following Rosario's debut. "He'll be the shortstop for a lot of years here. For me, it's not a problem at all. I'm happy to help him out with whatever he needs."

The promotion of Rosario was the final step in a midseason rebuild for the Mets, who reached the playoffs the previous two seasons but enter Friday 11 1/2 games out of the National League wild-card race. New York dealt away first baseman Lucas Duda and closer Addison Reed in separate deals prior to the trade deadline.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, are on a 114-win pace, and they underscored their all-in mentality by bolstering their rotation with Darvish. The 30-year-old has lost five consecutive decisions and is in danger of posting a career-high ERA (his previous high was a 3.90 ERA as a rookie in 2012). However, he still was among the American League's top 10 in strikeouts, fewest hits per nine innings and innings pitched at the time of the trade.

"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 at a press conference in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Come playoff time, Los Angeles -- which has not won the World Series since 1988 -- expects Darvish to form a potent 1-2-3 top of the rotation with ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who is currently on the disabled list with a back injury, and Alex Wood (13-1).

"It gives us a lot of options -- (Darvish) coming into a team that is playing really well," Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill, another of the team's starters, said Wednesday.

Darvish lost his final start as a member of the Rangers on July 26, when he gave up a career-high 10 runs over 3 2/3 innings as Texas fell to the Miami Marlins 22-10.

DeGrom had his eight-start winning streak snapped in his most recent appearance Saturday, when he took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings as the Mets were edged by the Seattle Mariners 3-2.

Darvish is 0-0 with a 5.11 ERA in two career starts against the Mets. DeGrom is 0-2 with a 2.94 ERA in five career regular-season starts against the Dodgers.
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