The Chicago Cubs have Chris Gimenez playing in Triple-A Iowa after not making the final roster out of spring training. Could he be considered to be called up to catch Yu Darvish? Last night’s game in Colorado suggests there is something off right now.
It was another frustrating game for starter Yu Darvish last night in Colorado. In almost the same fashion as his last start, Darvish fell apart in the fifth inning, giving up five runs after two were out. He was shutting down the Rockies offense until he made the fatal mistake of walking pitcher Tyler Anderson. The floodgates then opened, and Darvish was eventually pulled.
On the season Darvish sports a 6.86 ERA, 4.98 FIP and 1.63 WHIP in four starts. What is so odd is that it always seems to happen in the fifth inning. Through innings 1-4, he has only allowed three total runs this season. Fifth inning alone, he has allowed 12 runs. It is very odd and difficult to explain; it just seems like the command goes south and everything gets lost.
Though, yesterday’s postgame had some revealing comments from catcher Willson Contreras. According to Jesse Rogers, Contreras said that Darvish got too “comfortable” last night, and Darvish disagreed. There have been some noticeable issues between the two with communication before this so far. It seems like they are not really on the same page, and that there is even some possible tension between them.
Why Chris Gimenez might be a solution–or at least an aid
Chris Gimenez signed a minor-league deal before they got Darvish. Both Gimenez and Darvish were close and worked together in Texas. Many thought he could be what David Ross was to Jon Lester. Darvish has a 3.29 ERA, .250 average against, 98 strikeouts and 26 walks in his career with Gimenez catching. Not a big sample sized compared to Ross and Lester working 89 games together, but something to note.
It is very difficult to know exactly what goes through Darvish’s head throughout a start. Maybe it is easily fixable; maybe it will take some work. Either way, having a catcher and pitcher not on the same page cannot help things. Certainly not pointing to Contreras and blaming all of Darvish’s fifth-inning woes on him, but in times like these adjustments need to be made and maybe he would feel and work better with Gimenez behind the plate. Sometimes baseball is like that, chemistry and communication is important after all.
It was surprising to some that Victor Caratini made the roster over Gimenez. Outside of the Milwaukee series, Caratini has not played all that much. Either the Cubs could send Caratini down to get some consistent playing time for now, or they could carry three catchers and send somebody else down.
If there is one thing that the Cubs have shown us the last three years, it is that having a veteran backup that is good behind the plate and calling a game is important to a club. Gimenez can provide that.