Yu Darvish struggles as Chicago Cubs continue to stumble of late

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Right-hander Yu Darvish missed his spots and got hit hard early as the Chicago Cubs dropped another contest, falling to 4-6 in their last 10 contests.

It would be easy to lay Wednesday night’s loss at the feet of Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish. He once again failed to get past the fifth, allowing five earned runs – four of which came courtesy of a pair of long-balls that put the Atlanta Braves in the driver’s seat early.

"“It was just all about the homers — that’s it,” said Darvish after the game. “That hurt me a lot and the team. That’s what it was all about today.”"

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Darvish walked three and struck out only two on the night, allowing eight hits – two of which left the yard. From there on out, the Cubs bullpen kept the Braves off the board, but the offense did little to help back Darvish or his fellow hurlers, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight men on base.

Watching the Chicago right-hander pitch is a bit like riding a roller coaster – and it’s not always an enjoyable experience. For a stretch, he’ll look like the guy who has been a four-time All-Star and anchored the Texas Rangers’ rotation for a run earlier in his career. Then, the wheels seem to come off and you’re left wondering what you can realistically expect when he takes the ball.

In three of his five June starts, Darvish has allowed at least four earned runs – including Wednesday’s loss. The Cubs are, quite fittingly, 2-3 in those starts – and Wednesday actually marked the first time the final score was separated by more than one run when the righty starts in June.

Here’s where I’m at after another so-so start from Darvish.

First and foremost, I’m obviously disappointed. I still think this guy has the stuff to completely change the make-up of this Cubs rotation. When he’s locked in and feeling good, he can make even the best big league hitters look foolish.

He’s probably got a worse rep with a lot of Cubs fans because of his horrendous work at the Friendly Confines. Darvish has pitched to a 6.23 ERA at home this season – a stark contrast to his respectable 3.59 mark on the road. The biggest issue? Long-balls.

In eight road starts (42 2/3 IP), Darvish has allowed just six home runs this season. But in nine starts coming at Wrigley Field, the big right-hander has been shelled to the tune of a dozen home runs across 47 2/3 frames. Simply put, he has to find a way to keep the ball in the yard if he’s ever going to have success at home.

Wednesday marked just the latest disappointment for Yu Darvish. It wasn’t the start he, or the Cubs, wanted – especially in a potential postseason matchup against Atlanta. For now, though, all we can do is hope he makes the adjustments and looks better in his next start.

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And if you want a reason to be optimistic? His next outing will come on the road. That’s something, right?