I would hope, before Yu Darvish’s next start for the Cubs, which should come up next Tuesday at Wrigley Field against the Marlins, that he and pitching coach Jim Hickey and the rest of the staff will sit down and analyze in detail every pitch he’s thrown for the Cubs so far this year, all 585 of them.
Because whatever he’s doing isn’t working. Maybe it’s his pitching motion — should he go back to a windup? Maybe he’s tipping his pitches the way he was in the World Series last year. Maybe the pitch selection needs tweaking.
The Cubs need him to be fixed, and fast, because outings like he had in the Cubs’ 11-2 loss to the Rockies Wednesday afternoon can’t keep happening.
Darvish was bad from the start. A leadoff walk to Charlie Blackmon set the tone; one out later, Nolan Arenado homered off the top of the batter’s eye suite in center field, a baseball that needed no help from the wind blowing out at 11 miles per hour on a warm, humid afternoon.
There’s nothing wrong with Darvish’s velocity. He struck out eight, but was in constant trouble, allowing single runs in the second and third before Trevor Story and Chris Iannetta homered off him in the fifth, making it 6-1 and bringing Joe Maddon out to change pitchers.
Oh, yes. Just before Darvish put the game further out of reach, Anthony Rizzo, who had singled in the first inning, did this:
Rizzo’s third of the year made it 4-1 and for a brief time gave some hope the Cubs could get back in the game.
Brian Duensing finished the fifth with no further damage, and in the bottom of the sixth Kris Bryant gave more brief hope:
Now it’s 6-2. That’s still four runs down, but the wind is still blowing out. For some reason, Cubs fly balls seemed to die on the warning track, while Rockies blasts... well, after Mike Montgomery had a decent sixth and seventh inning, he got into trouble in the eighth, putting the first two batters on base via a hit and a walk. One out later, Joe called on Luke Farrell to face Arenado. Righty vs. righty, you know.
That didn’t work. Farrell served up a three-run homer that made it 9-2, the Rockies added a couple more runs via plays you really don’t want to hear about, and that was essentially it. Besides the homers by Rizzo and Bryant, the Cubs had just two other hits: that first-inning single by Rizzo, and a leadoff double by Javier Baez in the ninth that led to nothing.
Really, I don’t have a whole lot more to say about this one, a real stinker. Fortunately, it counts as only one loss. Hopefully, the Cubs offense, pretty moribund in this entire homestand (15 runs scored in seven games), will recuperate after an off day Thursday and start hitting again in St. Louis Friday. Fortunately, the pitching was good enough in the homestand (except for this game) for the Cubs to have a 5-2 record, which you’ll take pretty much any time over any seven-game stretch.
And, fortunately, they managed to finish this game just before some heavy thunderstorms hit the Chicago area — had they scheduled this one for a night game, they’d likely have been delayed or postponed. The summer weather continued, with the temperature at game time 84 degrees. That made the average game-time temp for this three-game set 83 degrees; for the four-game series vs. the Brewers just preceding, the average was 50. Ah, spring in Chicago.
Friday in St. Louis, it’ll be Jose Quintana for the Cubs and Miles Mikolas for the Cardinals. Friday’s game time is 7:15 pm, and TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago.