Chicago Cubs: What the team needs from Yu Darvish in Milwaukee

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Control – a staple of his game – wasn’t there last week

Darvish walked a pair of batters – and hit two, as well – in his four-plus inning season debut last weekend. That may not seem like much, but let’s look at these instances.

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The man he hit, former Milwaukee top prospect Lewis Brinson, came along for the ride in the first when Derek Dietrich blasted a two-run homer. Darvish badly hung a breaking pitch and paid the price. One of his walks, which came in the fifth inning, also came around to score. So, in essence, 40 percent of the runs he allowed were semi self-inflicted.

Last season, he hit more than one batter just one time – in a May start against Toronto. He limited the damage, though allowing just three runs in six innings of work. When he can locate his impressive arsenal, Darvish ranks among the best pitchers in baseball.

It’s worth hoping his trajectory follows that of 2017. He struggled in his first start, allowing four earned runs and walking five in six-plus innings. Then, he followed it up with a one-run, six-inning effort in which he struck out five.

Darvish is going to walk guys – especially early in the season (based on historical trends). It’s about limiting the impact of these free passes. This is where he failed in his Cubs’ debut.