Chicago Cubs: Evaluating Yu Darvish’s return from DL

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

After missing a start due to illness, Yu Darvish returned to the Chicago Cubs rotation Tuesday. While his start was cut short, there were some good things to take away from it.

It was unfortunate for Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish Tuesday night that he only could go four innings. Joe Maddon had pulled Darvish due to a cramp in his right leg, which was attributed to the flu he had been recovering from while on the DL.

After being sidelined for ten days and not conditioning like he normally would, there was much speculation over how this start would go. Darvish ended up going 4.0 innings, giving up one earned run on three hits, two walks while striking out five. The one run given up was a solo home run to Ender Inciarte in the fourth inning.

Hard to call it his best start as a Cub considering he only went four innings, though there were moments when one could argue it was as crisp as he has looked as a Cub.

Looking into the details

Darvish threw a total of 61 pitches in those four innings. He threw 36 strikes and got 10 of those swinging. Four of his five strikeouts were of the swinging variety. Darvish’s fastball was real crisp in the mid-90s and reached 96 MPH on several occasions. He complimented that with a great moving slider in the low-80s that also generated some swings-and-misses.

Not much else was hit too hard. Darvish got five balls on the grounds, four flyballs, two line drives and a pop up out. One of the three hits he had surrendered was a bunt single. There were times when the command got spotty, but he and his defense were able to work around it.

Probably his biggest moment was getting out of a two-on, two-out jam by getting Freddie Freeman to foul out to Kris Bryant in the third inning. Overall a nice outing to see against a real good Braves team.

Yu’s health

Luckily nothing was too serious when he was taken out after the fourth. It was clear that Maddon had to get Mike Montgomery up fast after he evaluated Darvish. According to Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales, it was completely Maddon’s decision to pull him out of the game.

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Darvish is set to start against the Cincinnati Reds in his next start, and he hopes to keep eating and conditioning so he is fully back to normal. It can be really hard to be out of action and conditioning and come back physically 100%.