Chicago Cubs expect Yu Darvish to ‘ramp up’ after the All-Star Break

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

After not pitching for nearly two months, Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish may finally be ready to get after it and rejoin his teammates on the field.

The Chicago Cubs are ready to head into the All-Star Game flying high. With a chance to complete a three-game sweep to cap the first half, there’s a lot to love about this team. When you take into account the challenges they’ve overcome already in 2018, it’s hard not to get high on the possibilities.

Perhaps their biggest obstacle? Getting a mere 40 innings from right-hander Yu Darvish. Needless to say, when you shell out $126 million to a guy in free agency, you expect a lot more than that. But, it appears we could be close to turning the corner.

"“My sense is that he feels better and his arm is feeling good,” Jed Hoyer said of Darvish recently. “Our hope is that after the [All-Star] break, he can ramp it up. I have no reason to be pessimistic.”"

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Although Hoyer may not be pessimistic, it’s hard to describe fans’ moods surrounding Darvish as anything else. Most believed he would be the guy to replace fan favorite Jake Arrieta. When you look at the composition of the rotation, there’s a glaring need for another front-end starter.

Darvish could take Cubs to a new level

Jon Lester continues to anchor the staff. He’s seeking a 12th win in the first half finale and carries a 2.45 earned run average into his 19th outing of the year.

Kyle Hendricks hasn’t pitched up to expectations, struggling to keep the ball in the yard. Jose Quintana has been a solid three – but, I personally don’t ever expect him to be anything more. Mike Montgomery, filling in for Darvish, is doing everything asked and then some – but he’s not going to dominate a game like Darvish can.

"“I think we’re surprised,” Hoyer said. “Other than the Tommy John, he’s been a guy who takes the ball and has been really durable. I think this is a blip. I think it’s a moment in time and he’ll get back to that place where he’ll give us six, seven innings of quality baseball.”"

Durable won’t be a word Cubs fans associate with their big right-hander. At least, not anytime soon. But Chicago isn’t about to bet their postseason dreams on him returning as a stud in 2018. According to Hoyer, the team will look to add pitching depth ahead of the July 31 deadline.

Now, we’ve delved into that topic too many times to count. Rumors range from back-end depth pieces to the big fish – Mets ace Jacob deGrom. I find it really hard to believe the Cubs would pull the trigger on a deal like that, but you never know, I suppose.

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The biggest addition this team could make? A healthy, productive Yu Darvish. At 16 games above .500 with sole possession of first place, the Cubs could erase any pick-up the Brewers make at the deadline simply by getting Darvish back on-track.