It’s not a secret that Yu Darvish has struggled in his first season with the Chicago Cubs, after signing a huge deal in the offseason. Darvish has started in seven games, winning just one and has already made a 10-day DL stint.
His first win of the year came Sunday in the Cubs 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Darvish was helped out by three home runs from Cubs hitters but he did manage to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, allowing just one run.
After that Darvish settled down and retired the next six batters he faced in order. He did run into some trouble again in the fourth inning, walking the pitchers with two outs. But it may have been a mound visit from an unexpected player that really helped him settle down.
During that fourth inning, first baseman Anthony Rizzo chatted with Darvish after he had walked the pitcher. Rizzo explained his intent to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers following the game:
Rizzo, on going over to Darvish on the mound in the 4th inning: “He just walked the pitcher. He’s walked the pitcher a couple of times. He was pissed. I’ve gotten to know him. You just go over and calm him down a bit. I said ‘don’t worry, we’ll score some runs for you.’”
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 20, 2018
One of the key things in that statement is Rizzo saying “I’ve gotten to know him.” With Darvish’s struggles early in the season, it’s very important that a leader like Anthony Rizzo recognized the situation and stepped in.
It’s only one win but hopefully this helps Darvish turn the corner.