It took 14 home starts spread across two seasons and 17 calendar months, but Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish finally earned his first win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
“It’s amazing,” Darvish said after leading the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. “First win at Wrigley. I was always looking for that first win.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap
It marked an important step for Darvish since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February 2018.
He spent most of last year on the injured list, then started this season slowly. But after asking for the ball in the Cubs’ first game coming out of the All-Star break, Darvish has put together two gems. On Friday, he threw six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Wednesday, he went six shutout innings again, this time giving up just two hits while striking out seven.
“It’s not a fun at-bat,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of the few hitters who have reached first base. “Everyone says it … He just trusts his arm. He’s pitching with conviction. He’s getting stronger and stronger, more and more comfortable.”
Darvish indicated that until recently, despite being healthy, he was favoring his arm angle on his fastball simply because of the pain he used to feel in his elbow. Now he’s just letting it fly, using the proper mechanics and delivery.
The results are showing.china nike nfl jerseys cheap
He threw a first-pitch strike to 82% of the hitters he faced Wednesday, the second-highest rate of any start in his career. Reds hitters were 1-for-14 with five strikeouts after falling behind 0-1 in the count.
“He still takes some time in between pitches, but how he’s spending that time seems to be better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t think he’s wondering what to do next. I think he’s calculating what to do next. And when he gets back on the rubber, ‘here we go.'”
There might have been no better example of that “here-we-go” attitude than when Yasiel Puig stepped into the batter’s box as the tying run, with one man on and two outs in the top of the sixth inning Wednesday. After pitching coach Tommy Hottovoy visited the mound — building drama to the at-bat — Darvish came out firing. He threw five pitches to Puig, and three reached 98 mph, including what turned out to be his final pitch of the game — one that blew Puig away.
Chants of “Yu!” followed as he walked off the mound, showing plenty of emotion after the strikeout.
“The people yelling for him as he comes off the field was awesome,” Maddon said. “I know he feels that in a positive way. And he deserved it.”
Added Darvish: “I’m almost 120% right now. I don’t need anything right now. It’s perfect, everything.”
That’s music to the ears of Cubs fans who have been waiting for this version of Darvish since they said hello to him and goodbye to World Series hero Jake Arrieta two years ago. It has taken a while, but the electric stuff often advertised but sometimes not delivered with Darvish is everything and then some right now.