Yu Darvish's Anticipated and Angst-Ridden Return, Javy Goodness, and Other Bullets

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Yu Darvish’s Anticipated and Angst-Ridden Return, Javy Goodness, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The good vibes of a five-game winning streak faded rather quickly, eh? It’s not too hard to understand why, given that it was preceded by a particularly frustrating five-game losing streak (which was preceded by a winning streak where the bats were frustratingly cold), and has been followed by two losses that the Cubs could have easily flipped to wins. You throw in the fact that the starting rotation is providing numerous reasons for concern, and, well … ANGST.

  • Speaking of angst, we’ll have more on Jose Quintana in a bit, but I want to comment here up front about the return of Yu Darvish tonight. I am mostly speaking to myself here: don’t pin everything on tonight’s start, alone. Yes, you desperately want to see him looking Yu Darvish-like, with impressive location, command of every pitch, and huge, nasty movement. But if there are blips tonight, even coming against the backdrop of a rough start to his Cubs tenure, that doesn’t mean he’s definitely broken, just because the badness came after plenty of time for rest.
  • But. There’s a but. Here’s the thing we’re going to run up against with Darvish’s performance at some point (I don’t know how much longer, but at some point): he was blown out in the World Series thanks, in part, to poor command and a slider that didn’t do what it was supposed to do. Maybe it was just the balls, maybe it was just the tipping pitches. Whatever the cause, since then – and after an offseason where he got much less rest and much less consistency than usual – he has struggled with those same issues. I can’t offer you particulars on the relationship between those two things, but I can say with confidence that the longer his present struggles last and look like they do, the more we will be forced to ponder the implications of those World Series struggles (and the offseason) on how he’s performing with his new team after signing a monster contract. Physical, mental, etc. These are humans, after all.
  • Joe Maddon on his lack of Darvish concern (Cubs.com): “The guy’s been really good for so many years and has an outstanding arm. I think sometimes he gets a little bit speeded up in what he’s doing. He and I have talked about that. There’s too much success there for me to worry about that. I think he needs to slow things down, not unlike some other guys I’ve worked with who have pitched for a bit and played for a bit.”
  • Hopefully he looks good tonight. Not that it would totally eradicate our concerns (he sure has looked good against the Brewers this year, at least!), but it would give us all a moment to breathe.
  • Jason Heyward is traveling with the team to Atlanta, but there’s nothing to update on his status (concussion) right now.
  • Love for Javy Baez, and also a note from him that sometimes he’s been taking at bats out into the field with him, so to speak:

  • Baez was robbed twice in yesterday’s game of a couple would-be singles, which will happen sometimes, and is a reminder of how dependent he is on BABIP right now to be successful. If you are taking no walks (literally no walks in over a month), then you need to (1) never strike out, (2) slug like crazy, and (3) have your hits fall in. Baez has done a good job on the first two, which he can, to some extent, control. That third one will simply sometimes break against you.
  • More Javy goodness:

  • Great to see an update on pitching prospect Justin Steele’s Tommy John comeback:

  • Dare I say … superstar:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.