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Yu Darvish returns to Dodger Stadium

World Baseball Classic 2009 - Korea v Japan Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Dodgers conclude their homestand on Wednesday night against the White Sox, with Yu Darvish making his Dodger Stadium debut.

Major league Dodger Stadium debut, that is.

Darvish never faced the Dodgers while with the Rangers, and thus never pitched against them in Los Angeles. But he did pitch for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, which had the championship round at Chavez Ravine.

Japan won the 2009 WBC, and Darvish was on the mound to finish off wins in both the semifinal and final at Dodger Stadium.

Darvish was just 22 years old then, three years before he would come to the United States, signing a six-year, $51 million deal with Texas, who paid a $51 million posting fee for his rights.

Japan beat Team USA in the semifinal round in 2009, 9-4, with Darvish pitching the final inning. He struck out David Wright and Adam Dunn to close out the win. In the final against Korea -- future teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu recorded two outs in the eighth inning for the other side -- Darvish allowed the tying run in the ninth inning, but got the win when Japan rallied for two runs in the 10th.

Darvish remained in the game to close out the championship, and though he walked three in his two innings, he also struck out five. In his Dodger Stadium career, Darvish has allowed one run on two hits, with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Now 31 -- Wednesday is Darvish’s birthday -- the strikeouts are still coming for the Dodgers’ newest addition. The right-hander struck out 10 batters in each of his first two starts, joining former Brooklyn hurler Karl Spooner as the only Dodgers to do so in their first two starts for the team.

In the last two decades, the only Dodgers pitcher to strike out 10 batters in three straight starts is Clayton Kershaw, who has eight such streaks, including one stretch of six consecutive starts.

The last Dodgers pitcher not named Kershaw to whiff 10 batters in at least three straight starts was Hideo Nomo, who did so in four consecutive starts in 1995.

Darvish, the all-time MLB leader in strikeouts per nine innings (11.10) among pitchers with at least 100 starts, has never struck out 10 batters in three consecutive starts in his career.

Southpaw stats

With Carlos Rodon starting for the White Sox on Wednesday, let’s check in with the Dodgers’ numbers against left-handed pitchers in 2017.

The Dodgers, who were dead last against southpaws in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and wRC+ in 2016, have fared much better this season. This year, they are hitting .258/.348/.465 against lefties, leading the majors in home runs (56), third in wRC+ (115), fourth in wOBA (.347), and fifth in OPS (.813).

Even with Friday’s loss to the Padres, in a game started by Clayton Richard — he left that game trailing -- the Dodgers are 28-11 in games started against them by lefties in 2017, the best record in baseball. They have won 25 of their last 29 games facing a southpaw starter.

One of those victims was Rodon, who on July 19 in Chicago allowed five runs in 3⅔ innings to the Dodgers. The long ball was the culprit on that night, with Kiké Hernandez hitting two, along with Corey Seager and Chris Taylor also going deep against Rodon.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA