After an injury prone 2018 season and only logging 40 innings on the bump, Yu Darvish looks to make his presence felt for the Chicago Cubs this season.
Yu Darvish came to the Chicago Cubs essentially as Jake Arietta’s replacement after the 2017 season, which is an incredibly difficult position to fill. Arrieta was beloved by the city of Chicago because of his tremendous 2015 regular season performance. On top of that? He essentially guaranteed a victory in Pittsburgh. A couple of no-hitters didn’t hurt his cause, either.
Darvish is coming off a 2018 season that was cut short due to elbow issues and faced allegations from many reporters. Those included Alex Rodriguez, about how he has been a detriment to the team. Many fans bought into this storyline projected by A-Rod and again, Darvish is walking into a situation where he may not be getting a fair chance from the fans. They might be athletes, famous ones. But they are still people at their core.
Darvish addressed the media and was saying all the right things following his mound work. “I really want to do something for Chicago and the Cubs” Darvish said, and also mentioned that his fastball is feeling explosive. Darvish is entering a situation where many Cubs fans are waiting for him to live up to his massive contract. He threw 45 pitches yesterday, and there are many reasons to believe in Yu Darvish.
Darvish has seen a four MPH boost in his fastball velocity since he last stood on the bump. Folks that were there for the bullpen say that Darvish’s off-speed is very sharp. He’s been pain-free to this point, and that might be one of the best signs this spring. Maybe Darvish wasn’t a bust, but simply injured last season? That’s been known to happen.
Darvish has not been shy in admitting that feeling comfortable is very important to his success. He has said in recent interviews he knew nobody in Chicago last year and it made it difficult for him. Now he has a support system in Chicago and is ready for war. Darvish has also been reading a book titled The Breaking Ball Bible. Sounds like he will be just fine in 2019.