I’m going to start this recap of the Cubs’ 6-0 loss to the Diamondbacks Saturday afternoon with the good news:
Cubs pitchers struck out 11 D-backs.
That’s it, pretty much. Oh, there was also this nice defensive play [VIDEO] by Kyle Schwarber in the first inning.
That was on Yu Darvish’s second pitch of the game, a single by Jarrod Dyson that wound up in an out at second base on Schwarber’s good throw.
But Darvish then served up back-to-back home runs to Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta and really, everyone could have gone home right then because the Cubs couldn’t do anything with Zack Greinke and D-backs reliever Taylor Clarke. The Cubs had just four hits and got just three runners past first base, one of them on defensive indifference in the ninth inning.
So this is a tip o’ the cap to Greinke and Clarke, who were simply dominant. Clarke, incidentally, was making his major-league debut in this game. Clarke threw three innings and as a result, picked up a save in his first big-league game. He’s the first pitcher to do that since... another D-backs hurler, Jon Duplantier, did it three weeks ago against the Padres. Before that it had been almost 10 years since anyone had thrown 3+ innings in his big-league debut and gotten a save. Here’s the entire list. Clarke also got his first major-league hit.
Why am I talking about that? Because there’s not much Cub to talk about in this game. Darvish, again, struggled with his command early, though his velocity was quite good. He allowed another run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly, and after that settled down. After he walked the first two hitters in that inning, Darvish retired 12 of the last 14 hitters he faced. So that’s... good, I guess. At 3-0 the game might still have been within reach; Darvish was lifted for pinch-hitter Mark Zagunis, who struck out. You know, Darvish could have done that, and maybe thrown one more inning (he was taken out after 88 pitches), and maybe the game stays 3-0.
Instead, Allen Webster entered and got hit pretty hard, allowing five hits and being charged with three runs (two earned), and that put the game out of reach. One of those five hits was a double by Greinke:
Zack Greinke has 4 extra-base hits this season. Ben Zobrist & Albert Almora Jr. have zero.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 20, 2019
That’s ... not good. (It should be noted also that Cubs pitchers, combined, have more extra-base hits than Zobrist and Almora. Jon Lester has one, a double.)
On the “good” side of the ledger, Randy Rosario threw two scoreless innings in mopup duty. Again, that’s about all I’ve got. There’s this interesting pitching note regarding this game:
Yu Darvish: first #Cubs starter to allow a run since Yu Darvish on Monday— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 20, 2019
If Yu Darvish is the only Cubs starter giving up runs over the next few weeks, the Cubs will be in good shape. Obviously that’s not likely to happen and we’d like to see Darvish throw better. This outing wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either, and Darvish simply has to get more consistency with his good fastball. He did throw 50 of his 88 pitches for strikes, even while issuing two walks.
After one like this, you pretty much have to say: “Go get ‘em tomorrow,” and so the Cubs will try for a series win Sunday afternoon with Tyler Chatwood on the mound. That doesn’t sound optimal, but perhaps he will surprise us with a good outing. Robbie Ray will go for the D-backs. In a change from the weather of the last two days, temperatures Sunday are expected to be in the 70s with the wind blowing out. Good times. Game time Sunday is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via NBC Sports Chicago.