Chicago Cubs: Darvish is ready for the bright lights
4. Yu Darvish – Darvish has turned into the Cubs ace this season, setting down batters like Greg Maddux’s long-lost protégé. In his last outing of the month in August, Darvish finally walked a batter – something that hadn’t happened in months.
The veteran Japanese hurler has been absolutely lights-out for the Cubs and even Darvish’s teammates have been amazed at his proficiency. The right-hander picked up a new pitch this month from Cubs closer, Craig Kimbrel and was executing it in his next start – something that’s pretty much unheard of in today’s game. The one thing that may concern Darvish is his past performances in crucial games.
When he first arrived in Chicago, sportswriters and fans alike worried how Darvish would handle high-pressure moments. Most of those concerns stemmed from his struggles in the 2017 World Series, where he failed to get past the second inning in a pair of starts, giving up a combined nine runs. But he hasn’t really been tested as a member of the Cubs after making just eight starts last year due to injury.
There hasn’t been that one pivotal game like last year’s Wild Card contest, where Darvish could finally clear his good name. This may be the first time since joining the Cubs that he is put to the test in high leverage situations. No one knows this more than Darvish, who is feeling the pressure to shed his big-game blowup reputation and step into Cubs immortality.