Chicago Cubs: Yu Darvish expected to miss the rest of the first half?

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

This isn’t the start the Chicago Cubs and Yu Darvish hoped for. Two trips to the disabled list marred his first half – and could keep him out till mid-July.

The storyline continues to be beaten into the ground. Did the Chicago Cubs make a mistake in signing Yu Darvish over Jake Arrieta? Think whatever you’d like on that matter – because, now, it doesn’t matter.

Chicago went with Darvish, signing the right-hander to a six-year, $126 million deal late this offseason. The length of the deal kept them under the luxury tax threshold and gave them one of the game’s best starters in recent years.

Last season, the Texas Rangers sent Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline – putting Darvish on a national stage for really the first time. He embraced that calling, pitching to a 3.44 ERA with a sparkling 4.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio down the stretch. After dominating in the NLDS and silencing the Cubs in the National League Championship Series, the wheels came off.

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He made two starts against the eventual World Champion Astros, and got absolutely shelled. Between the two starts, he lasted just 3 1/3 innings – and allowed eight earned runs. He did not strike out a single batter. After the fact, news broke about Darvish tipping his pitches – a report that, to this day, leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many Cubs fans.

Why? Because even when Yu Darvish has been on the mound for Chicago, he hasn’t been great.

And, according to the latest reports, his triceps injury could keep him out until after the All-Star Break.

"“I think we’ll know more by the end of this coming week exactly what we think about hopefully being able to lay out a plan about getting him back,” Joe Maddon said Sunday. “But we’re not at that point yet.”"

Cubs have the pieces to weather the storm

Through eight starts this season, Darvish carries a 4.95 earned run average and 4.80 FIP. His strikeout-to-walk numbers are at a career-worst and pitch location has repeatedly been a concern. The biggest thorn in the side of the right-hander? The fifth inning.

In fifth innings this year, Darvish holds a 25.20 ERA. Really, it’s come down to the first and fifth innings – because right out of the gate, he’s struggled as well. His last time out, though, he looked like the guy we’d all hoped for – turning in six innings of one-run ball.

With Darvish sidelined, left-hander Mike Montgomery is making the most of things. He’s been arguably the Cubs’ best starting pitcher in his three spot starts, leading the team to wins each time out. His performance has made the loss of Darvish much easier to stomach – but having your offseason prize on the mound would still be nice.

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But even if Darvish does indeed miss another month, this team has the depth to stay in the hunt. Personally, I’m more concerned with what he does after the Midsummer Classic and come October. Yes, I’d love to see him on the mound here in June.

The Cubs didn’t make this move for June. They made it expecting another deep October postseason run. Letting Darvish get to 100 percent health-wise now certainly beats trotting out a shorthanded rotation come crunch time.