In his return to the mound, Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish battled through two-plus innings, showing a complete inability to command his heater.
Saturday night had all the makings of a promising tale for the Chicago Cubs. A familiar setting. Clear skies. Yu Darvish, coming off a strong spring showing, taking the ball healthy and ready to turn the page on an injury-plagued and tremendously disappointing first season on the North Side.
But, as they say, you cannot judge a book by its cover. The tale went quite differently on Saturday night in Arlington. After striking out the first two batters he faced, Darvish walked Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara, drawing a mound visit. After a walk to Joey Gallo, the right-hander struck out Asdrubal Cabrera on a running fastball to end the threat.
At that point, you hoped Darvish would settle in and find some semblance of rhythm. Any time it takes 40 or so pitches to close out a frame, you need to make quick work of things in the second. But, instead, the oddity continued – a game of walks and strikeouts.
"“First couple guys I feel good,” Darvish told reporters after the game (via The Athletic – subscription required). “But after that I lost my command. Especially the fastball.”"
Darvish walked the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the second before a baserunning blunder seemed to once again turn the tide in his favor. Delino DeShields pulled back a bunt attempt and Ronald Guzman, the runner at second, got caught in between second and third for the first out of the inning.