With the Chicago Cubs’ Yu Darvish on the mound and the wind blowing out, confidence was not high in Cubs Nation. The stat line wasn’t much, but it was a great outing for Darvish–and not just for him.
They always say that when pitchers arrive at Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs, they look up at the flags. Yesterday was a day when you might consider a stomach bug before taking the mound. With Yu Darvish and the Cincinnati Reds’ Tyler Mahle starting, minimizing mistakes (read as walks) was going to be the story of the day.
Before the game, Joe Maddon was clear. He was going to stick with Darvish as long as possible. Tim Collins and Dillon Maples got the call before the game to help a bullpen that was overworked in the past few games. The shuttle between Iowa and Chicago seems to be running a regular route, and the Cubs even opted for an extra pitcher and sent down Mark Zagunis, as well.
Darvish making it into the eighth inning wouldn’t be the last surprise of the day. Unfortunately, Darvish still hasn’t won a game at Wrigley Field as a Cub, but he’s already started 11 games, three better than last year. Our Bill Quinn goes deeper into the start by Darvish and how important it was here.
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After Darvish was pulled following a game-tying homer by Derek Dietrich, you could still sense that many Cubs’ fans understood what his performance meant.
Look, we’re in first place. I’m not complaining. But the bullpen has been, well, meh. Currently, the fewer innings we see them, the better I’ll feel. It won’t be like that all year. But right now, there are few that I have faith to get the job done.
Hard to think I could say this now, after last season, but Tyler Chatwood is one of them that I do. It seems almost silly. And when he was moved to the bullpen? I figured there was no way his high walk percentage would play.
Maddon didn’t either, and he didn’t see the mound after September 8. And now, here I am hoping Maddon gives him a chance to close out this game. And he did.
It wasn’t the cleanest of efforts. But let us remember, Chatwood has been a starter. This bullpen role, in general, is new. Closing games? Completely foreign. He has three saves in his career–including yesterdays. I’m not opposed to running him out there again for the next potential save. Nothing else has worked consistently. Why not Chatwood?
But while we’re giving the pitching all the credit, let’s not forget about David Bote. He came up with his 400th clutch hit as a Cubs (I’m kidding.) But it seems that way, as Bote’s RBI double in the eighth scored the eventual winning run. It’s been a tough year for Bote, but he has a knack for coming through when the Chicago Cubs need him.
It seems that this story repeats itself every other day. It all comes down to how the bullpen is able to manage their responsibility. Yesterday was good. Today? We’ll see. The best thing is for Jose Quintana to go deep and give them another ‘day off.’