Yu Darvish Showed Four Pitches, Touched 95 MPH, and Felt Great in His Cubs’ Debut

The last meaningful game that new Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish started was for the Dodgers against the Astros in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.

Unfortunately, perhaps while tipping his pitches, Darvish allowed four earned runs on three hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings pitched, and the Dodgers went on to lose the game and the series.

Over the offseason, Darvish took the loss and two rough World Series starts very hard, and, in his own words, lost a noticeable amount of weight over the winter, “because of what happened in the World Series,” per ESPN. In fact, Darvish lost so much weight that he was worried about the impact it might have on his velocity in yesterday’s debut with the Cubs.

Well, good news on that front, I suppose, as Darvish was lighting up the radar gun with 95 MPH fastballs in his first outing. Even if you think the Spring Training gun is hot by a full click, a veteran like Darvish at 94 MPH in his Spring Training debut is arguably still well ahead of schedule, and that’s even after accounting for the scratched start last week.

You saw this video earlier, but if you didn’t here’s how Darvish looked yesterday:

Darvish tossed two full innings (standard for a Spring debut), allowing one earned run on no hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. It was a very eventful first inning (walks, wild pitches, a stolen base), but Darvish did strike out the side, before retiring them in order in the second.

And perhaps most important, Darvish felt good about his start. Not only was he working with plenty of fastball velocity, he worked in three other pitches (curveball, slider, and changeup) and seems to be happy enough with how everything felt.

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Kris Bryant was impressed with what he saw (Cubs.com): “His stuff is sharp, it moves, he throws hard. You have to stay on the fastball. His breaking stuff is really sharp and any time you have a pitcher who is going to throw a loopy curve in there, it’s not a comfortable at-bat.”

And then Ben Zobrist got me very excited (Cubs.com): “I think he adds fear to an offensive lineup, and if not fear, it’s a whole lot of uncomfortability up there. There’s nothing you can plan on – ‘Oh, I’m going to get this today and I’m going to take this kind of swing.’ You never know what you’re going to get. He can throw five different pitches in a bunch of different counts …. He can create a lot of havoc in an offensive approach.”

(This is the face I made immediately upon reading that line from Zobrist):

Darvish and his manager both tip-toed around the whole “not tipping his pitches” thing, but if you’re dying for more on that, know that Maddon seems to believe they 1) have already figured out what happened in those World Series starts, 2) don’t believe it was exclusively about tipping pitches, and 3) have already worked on a way to organically conceal his pitches better now.

Other than that, I think it’s hard to say that yesterday was anything but a huge success. Darvish used four different pitches, worked from 73 MPH up to 95 MPH, struck out four batters, and began solidifying his relationship with catcher Willson Contreras. All things considered, that’s a great start to his Cubs career.

You can read more from Darvish, his manager, and his teammates from ESPN and Cubs.com, or watch his postgame interview right here at the Chicago Tribune.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

more cubs news

Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 7, Cubs 6 – May 25, 2024

After blowing the lead in the 8th, the Cubs tried to put together their own comeback in the 9th, but that Christopher Morel bouncer just didn't find the right spot. Worst fake rally ever. The Cubs were in that spot,...

Chicago Cubs Lineup: Versus Miles Mikolas

CUBS LINEUP — The first Cubs-Cardinals game of the season was banged on account of rain last night, which is a bummer, because it was Shota Imanaga night. The Cubs are using the unexpected night off to buy Imanaga some...

Could Red-Hot Blue Jays Catcher Danny Jansen Be a Cubs Trade Target?

For as clutch as Yan Gomes was at the plate last season, his offense output this year has been nothing short of brutal: .174/.183/.275 (26 wRC+). He can still call a game as well as anyone, but that's a blackhole...

Slight Rotation Shuffle, Smyly Coming, Big Night in Iowa, and Other Cubs Bullets

The Cardinals are cowards and they were afraid of Shōta Imanaga. It's the only explanation for last night's delay and then postponement. The only explanation. OK, I mean, I guess weather is also possibly an explanation, but who really believes...

They Tried to Hit PCA On Pitch #1 and #2 … SO HE HOMERED ON PITCH #3

This is just so incredible. Since being sent back down to Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs top prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong, has made an absolute mockery of the league. In his first game back, he went 2-5 with a homer. In his...

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Cardinals – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread (POSTPONED)

The game has been banged. It will be made up a month from now (instead of tomorrow, for some reason). https://twitter.com/dgoold/status/1794181927660073067 CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs have their ace, Shota Imanaga, on the mound against a sub-.500 team, who's starting...

Jordan Wicks Making a Rehab Start Tonight at Iowa

[ankin_law] Another pitcher on the mend, and getting closer to a return to the big league team. Jordan Wicks has been out since April 23 with a forearm strain, and the Cubs have quite wisely been careful bringing back one...

Oh Hey Look, ANOTHER Minor League Pitching Signing for the Cubs

That's right. ANOTHER one. Thus, I have to start with the same intro: The Chicago Cubs are seriously going off on the minor league pitching signings here after the start of the season. Sure, you sometimes see one, but this...

Something the Cubs Have Quietly Been Able to Pull Off with Respect to Shota Imanaga

I won't bore you with the same spiel about how Shota Imanaga is pitching like the best starting pitcher in baseball right now. You already know it in your heart and soul. (Although, it's never actually boring.) Instead, I simply...

MLBits: Phillies Historic Stretch, Skenes Dominant Even Without His Best, Manfred on Robo Umps, More

The Philadelphia Phillies are the hottest team in baseball, winning 29 of their last 35 games, their best 35-game stretch since Grover Cleveland won the 1982 presidential election—that and more in today's MLB Notes. The Red-Hot Phillies Continue to Their...

Latest News

Oilers vs. Stars Stanley Cup Semifinals Game 3 Prediction: Odds, Picks, Best Bets – Monday, May 27, 2024

The Edmonton Oilers are -125 favorites over the Dallas Stars (+105) playing on home ice on Monday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.Watch the NHL on Fubo!Oilers vs. Stars Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Oilers (-125)Underdog: Stars (+105)Total: 5.5Best Oilers vs. Stars Promo...

Indy 500 Odds and Picks: Will Penske Power through the field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is upon us! The 2024 Indy 500 roars to life tomorrow, with a field of hungry drivers vying for checkered flag glory. But before the engines fire up, let's take a look at the Indy...

Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 7, Cubs 6 – May 25, 2024

After blowing the lead in the 8th, the Cubs tried to put together their own comeback in the 9th, but that Christopher Morel bouncer just didn't find the right spot. Worst fake rally ever. The Cubs were in that spot,...

NHL Playoffs Anytime Goalscorer Bets and Odds Today – May 26

We have just the one Stanley Cup Playoffs Semifinals game on the slate Sunday, and anytime goal-scorer odds for players from each team are listed in this article.Watch the NHL on Fubo!Today's Top Anytime Goal OddsSam Reinhart (Panthers) +125 to...

Cardinals vs. Cubs: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The St. Louis Cardinals (24-26), led by Brendan Donovan and aiming for a series sweep, host the Chicago Cubs (27-25) at 7:10 PM ET on Sunday.The article below will give you everything you need to watch St. Louis play Chicago.When...

Astros vs. Athletics: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

Kyle Tucker and the Houston Astros (23-29) visit JJ Bleday and the Oakland Athletics (22-32) on Sunday, with first pitch at 4:07 PM ET.Find out how to watch the Houston-Oakland matchup below.When is Astros vs. Athletics and when does it...

T.J. McConnell Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Celtics – Conference Finals Game 3, Saturday, May 25, 2024

At 8:30 PM ET on Saturday, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, it'll be the Indiana Pacers against the Boston Celtics -- with T.J. McConnell needing to connect only once from beyond the arc to beat his 3-pointer...

How to Watch Guardians vs. Angels: Live Stream or on TV

The Cleveland Guardians (34-17), with Ben Lively on the mound and trying to sweep the series, visit the Los Angeles Angels (20-31) who will hand the ball to Reid Detmers, at 4:07 PM ET on Sunday.If you're planning on watching...

Padres vs. Yankees: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Going for a series sweep, Juan Soto and the New York Yankees (36-17) play the San Diego Padres (27-27) on Sunday at PETCO Park, with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading...

Orioles vs. White Sox: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Sunday, trying to complete a series sweep, Kyle Bradish starts for the Baltimore Orioles (32-18) against Garrett Crochet and the Chicago White Sox (15-38), with first pitch scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.Keep reading to see how to watch the...

more cubs news