Chicago Cubs: Can Yu Darvish repeat his second half of last season?

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs needed what Yu Darvish did in the second half of last season. The question is, will he be able to do it again?

Yu Darvish has had an interesting career so far in Chicago. From everyone being jacked up about him signing with the Chicago Cubs to his first season being an absolute disaster. Then last season, we all saw the guy that we thought we were getting when he inked the six-years $126 million deal.

Darvish inked that deal on February 13, 2018, just before spring training of that season. Things were looking good; the Cubs were coming off of their third straight trip to the NLCS, where they saw Darvish as he was a member of the LA Dodgers. When the Chicago Cubs faced him, Darvish shoved. Pitching 6 1/3  innings and only giving up one run and striking out seven. The Cubs and their fans saw first hand what Darvish could do when he was at his best.

Darvish’s first year as a Cub was an absolute disaster. Darvish only made eight starts during the year, posting a 4.86 ERA and a 1.425 WHIP. An elbow injury caused Darvish to miss much of the 2018 season. Darvish tried to make a comeback late in the year where he earned a few minor league starts, but he was not ready to come back yet, and they shut him down for the year.

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Then 2019 came along. No one knew what to expect from Darvish heading into the season. On paper, you can slot Darvish into really any part of a starting rotation. Because when he is at his best, he is an ace, but we have also seen him not at his best and that Darvish should be slotted down in the rotation.

In the first half of 2019, Darvish was okay at best. He was 2-4 in 18 games with a 5.01 ERA and a WHIP of 1.340. Then Darvish’s second half came about, and we saw the best version of him that we have ever seen for an extended time.

In 13 starts, Darvish was 2.76 and a WHIP of 0.831. His strikeout numbers went way up, and walks went way down in the second half. His strikeouts/to walks ratio went from 2.27 in the first half, to 16.86 in the second half. Darvish issued a free pass 49 times during the first half compared to seven in the second half.

The big question is if Darvish can continue that streak that he was on to end the season in 2019? Probably his best start even though he got the loss was his last start of the season against the Cardinals as he took a shutout into the ninth inning. I wholeheartedly believe that Darvish will continue to be a workhorse on the mound in 2020. He is picking up right where he left on in 2019.

Next. Brothers hoping for a bounceback season. dark

Like Theo said at the Winter Meetings, if he continues to pitch as he did at the end of last year, his contract will be an absolute steal compared to what high end starting pitchers are getting on the market now.