Welcome back, baseball. Terrible losses are part of the deal, too. *punches wall … sits back down*
The Cubs’ bats staked the pitching to a healthy early lead, and added a bit from there, but it just wasn’t big enough, much like the strike zone. That is to say, Cubs pitchers walked a lot of batters. They needed a bigger strike zone is what I’m saying. Because of all the walks, you see.
It’s hard to draw up a more troubling season debut for Yu Darvish, all things considered. Maybe it’ll prove to have been some jitters from pitching in Texas. Maybe some residual blister recovery took him just a touch off. Maybe a few missed calls early got him out of whack. Maybe it was all of those things combined. We should PRAY it was all of those things combined.
In the first inning, Darvish couldn’t command the fastball, but otherwise had some excellent offspeed pitches that were right on the edges and the Rangers did a great job laying off. To the extent he was missing at all, he wasn’t missing by much. In the second inning, however, Darvish’s command on everything just evaporated, and his velocity started to decline (very long innings, cold temperatures, maybe trying to guide the ball, etc.). By the third, it was clear it wasn’t going to get better, and he was not permitted to finish the frame.
I’m sure we’ll hear much more soon about what Darvish thinks was up. I am disconcerted, but I am also open to this being a fluke.
A bonkers aside: it took 58 Darvish pitches for the Rangers to put a ball in play. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Jose Quintana came in for four effective innings in the middle, since he wasn’t going to start until late next week anyway. Quintana’s outing would have been scoreless but for a David Bote gaffe in the 7th, which ultimately preceded two runs. It was scored a hit, but Bote would tell you he absolutely should have made that play.
Then Carl Edwards Jr. gave up a dribbler, a walk, and a monster bomb to Joey Gallo, and poof the lead was gone.