The Chicago Cubs skipped Yu Darvish in the rotation this weekend. Is it wrong to try to put a positive spin on the right-hander’s forearm soreness?
Since the Chicago Cubs woes in the season’s first weeks, the 2019 campaign has been a roller coaster ride – and if you’re wondering, I’m not a big fan. It’s been dominant showing followed by lackluster performance week after week, month after month. Honestly, it’s been a bit tiring.
After Yu Darvish turned in arguably his best start in a Cubs uniform, tossing eight innings in a win against the Mets on the road, we all felt pretty good. I mean, this guy had been nothing but dominant for basically two months – and it was hardly a stretch to start considering him an ace.
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But as high as we were all riding given his performance, it’s hard to not feel a degree of whiplash with the injury news and skipped start. Throughout the entire season, the Cubs have failed to garner any type of sustained momentum – this is just the latest example.
Leave it to the Cubs, though, to try and put things in a positive light. The narrative quickly focused around the team consciously limiting the right-hander’s workload – which makes sense given he made just eight starts last season and was on pace for 170-180 frames in 2019.
"“It is something in the back of our mind all year,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy told MLB.com. “So, yes, the added benefit of this is, he’s not feeling great right now, but it’s a way to give him a rest, save some of those innings and be able to monitor things going forward. We’re in September now, too, so we have a lot of arms. We can see where he’s at in certain games.”"
On the year, Darvish sports a 4.25 ERA and 1.14 WHIP across 153 1/3 innings of work. What stands out most, of course, are his commanding 183 strikeouts to just 52 free passes. He’s really turned it on in the second half, pitching to a 2.93 ERA post-All-Star Break – really emerging as a force in the middle of the Cubs rotation
But maybe, just maybe, the Cubs have a point here. Darvish’s forearm soreness obviously worries anyone given his injury history. Knowing this has lingered for his last five starts isn’t promising. Skipping a start, though, allows him to rest and be at 100 percent down the stretch.
Imagine what he could be capable of if he’s firing on all cylinders. A healthy Yu Darvish who’s bolstered with confidence and a front office that’s helped him tap into his unbelievable talent once again after a disappointing debut campaign is a guy who might just keep the Cubs’ postseason hopes alive.