The Chicago Cubs rotation has battled through injury and inconsistency this year but has rounded into form of late – when the team has needed it most.
If I had told you back in March that 60 percent of the Chicago Cubs rotation would be having great second halves, the first option many would have expected to be part of that triumvirate would be Jon Lester. Chances are, with the way he finished last year and then started this year, many of you would have guessed Cole Hamels would be on there as well. Yu Darvish probably would have been last on that list.
Yet, here we are heading into late August and that’s exactly the name you should have been throwing out there first. Darvish, to his credit this season, has moved past an injury-plagued and disastrous start to his career in Chicago just a season ago.
So much so that he has basically been the de facto “ace” of the staff since the All-Star break. He has pitched the most innings of any Cub pitcher this season, and his stuff and command have been electric in the second half.
If I told you his record featured 2 wins and 2 losses in his first seven starts since the break, no one would get too excited about that. However, if you look a bit deeper, you’ll see a guy who has struck out 57 opposing hitters and walked just two over the past month. You’ll also see a guy who hasn’t gotten great run support or bullpen holds and saves.
Darvish has held hitters to a .191 batting average and a .574 OPS. He has been an ace in the second half so far, a guy who actually measures up to the contract he got just a season ago in the offseason.