The Darvish Story Stays the Same, Barnette Rehab, Yelich Always Homers at Home, and Other Bullets

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The Darvish Story Stays the Same, Barnette Rehab, Yelich Always Homers at Home, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Happy Easter to all of you, however and why-ever you celebrate (or don’t). We are doing the Easter egg hunt thing with the kiddos today, the best part of which was The Littlest Girl excitedly squeezing one of her confetti eggs so hard it exploded in a cloud of confetti dust all over all of us. That was nice.

  • In another world, the Cubs scored 10 runs early yesterday, Yu Darvish didn’t get pinch hit for in the 5th because the Cubs aren’t hard up for offense (he was at 88 pitches and was cruising at that point), and then he finished six innings and got a nominal quality start. Maybe in that world – mostly entirely out of his control – we say glowing things about how he is continuing to turn that corner. I am far from a Darvish hater, but I’m just not able to say all that this morning. Yes, I’m glad he settled in after the second, and yes, his performance fell into that “gave the Cubs a chance to win.” Yes, one of the homers he gave up was a pretty ridiculous piece of hitting on a good pitch. But we just always keep coming back to this place of half apologizing for the results, and I don’t really feel like doing it again this morning. Darvish gave up three runs in just five innings of work. That’s not good enough. Do better next time.
  • OK, so, as for the performance itself, Darvish netted a whopping 15 whiffs over his 88 pitches, and that confirms that the “stuff” was as good as it looked yesterday. He just loses the command at random times (reminiscent of Jake Arrieta’s post-2015 years), and it’s often long enough for him to get all burned up. Primarily, what he loses is his fastball – just 50% strike percentage yesterday.
  • The last bit of hope I’ve got on Darvish resuming dominance is that sometimes command is the last thing to come back after arm surgery. The stuff and spin and velocity are good enough to be a dominant starter (few have that starter kit), and maybe the command will keep coming along. Quickly. Maybe. That’s the best I’ve got. I don’t know that I’d bet on it at this point, but it would be irrational not to concede that it’s possible.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • This feels like a fair way to frame where things were yesterday for concerned fans:

  • Let’s just hope Tyler Chatwood pitches reasonably well today. Ironically, if *HE* could give you five innings and allow just three runs today, you might just take it with a smile.
  • Tony Barnette is the next rehabbing pitcher to head to the minor leagues, as he’s expected to pitch at AAA Iowa tonight (Mooney). It’s easy to forget these injured guys, but, while he’s not going to fill Brandon Morrow’s shoes, Barnette was very good with the Rangers the last few years when healthy. (Of course, he’s coming back from a shoulder issue and is 35, so you can’t exactly assume he’ll immediately be the guy he was.)
  • Christian Yelich homered again yesterday – twice. That gives him an absolutely incredible 13 homers in his first 22 games. Even more incredible, all 13 of those homers have come at home. I don’t think you have to suggest anything untoward just to note that it’s pretty crazy that it’s played out like that – SO MANY home runs SO QUICKLY, and every single one of them at home – but it’s weird to me that no one seems to be making this point. Even if you didn’t think about the possibility of sign-stealing using video signals and relays and what-have-you (stuff MLB has tried to legislate out of the game as recently as this offseason, so it’s not like it doesn’t happen), it just seems logical that more statistically-inclined people would point out this seeming anomaly. It’s weird! There’s being comfortable at home, and then there is this. My guess is, if you took a player of Yelich’s capabilities, and then calculated the odds that he would hit this many home runs this quickly and all at home by pure chance, the odds would be astronomical.
  • Sure enough, more than 12 at home like this has happened just once before in the last 70 years, and that was at Coors Field (and he didn’t get number 13 until July 9!):

  • It’s a lock that Yelich hits like five homers the next time he comes to Wrigley Field, by the way.
  • Do the Yankees have any players left:



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.