Yu Darvish has faced plenty of scrutiny in his short Chicago Cubs career. But now, it’s clear that he’s on the rise and pitching better than ever for the team.
While the right-hander is actually a year-and-a-half into his Cubs tenure, a completely different version of him is on display right now. Not only is the 32-year-old right-hander oozing with confidence, but he’s delivering on the field, too.
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Take Wednesday’s start against the Cincinnati Reds, a game in which Darvish accomplished several notable feats. Not only did he pick up his first win at Wrigley Field with the Cubs but he snapped a string of 13 straight starts without recording a win (12 no-decisions included, one loss).
Before Thursday’s masterful outing – six innings of two-hit, no-run baseball with seven strikeouts and no walks – Darvish’s last win came on April 27 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Wednesday follows his previous start – July 12 against the Pittsburgh Pirates – when he pitched equally as great.
All-in-all, Darvish has looked phenomenal since the All-Star Break: 12 innings pitched, four hits, no runs/earned runs, one walk and 15 strikeouts. It’s the first time that he’s posted back-to-back quality starts with the Cubs.
Yeah, that’ll play.
Darvish has arrived
While Darvish’s last two starts are arguably his best in a Cubs uniform, he’s been trending upward for some time now. Over his last nine starts, he holds a 3.50 ERA and .176 batting average against, walking just 12 batters compared to 59 strikeouts.
Moral victories count for nothing, but Darvish’s current run is more than that. It certainly took time, but the Cubs are finally seeing results worthy of the $126 million contract they signed Darvish to in February 2018.
Even better for the Cubs is that Darvish’s confidence is clearly on a whole different level than it has been since his rough outing in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. He blew a 98 MPH fastball past Yasiel Puig to the end the sixth inning Wednesday, pumping his fist and unleashing a roar simultaneous with thunderous applause from the Wrigley Field faithful.
And better yet for the Cubs, following Wednesday’s game Darvish said that he’s “almost 120 percent” right now. If he maintains such a level, the Cubs pitching staff will only go up a notch, too.
The Cubs need Darvish to keep delivering as they hit the stretch run, locked into an intense race to win the National League Central. With him walking the walk and talking the talk, it’s clear that Darvish has finally arrived on the North Side.