SAN DIEGO – This may very well have been a day which the Cubs team and fans have been dreading since last December.
That’s when the team decided to trade away Cy Young Award runner-up Yu Darvish along with catcher Victor Caratini to the Padres in exchange for Zach Davies and a collection of minor leaguers.
Gone was arguably the best pitcher for the team over the previous year-and-a-half and someone who could have provided some firepower at the top of a retooled 2021 Cubs’ rotation. Instead, Darvish was off to the Padres as they continue to build a championship-contending team.
Now comes the day which the Cubs knew was coming at somepoint in 2021.
Darvish will start against his former team on Wednesday in the series finale at Petco Park at 3:10 PM. It comes as the pitcher continues the dominance he had with the Cubs in his final year-and-a-half with the team as San Diego sits near the top of the National League.
Picking up where he left off in 2020, Darvish is 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA with 84 strikeouts compared to 17 walks. He’s aided the Padres’ 37-26 start, which has them second in the entire National League.
Such a start isn’t a surprise considering Darvish’s pitching from July of 2019 through the end of the 2020 season. After struggling in the first year-and-a-half with an elbow injury that finally forced arthroscopic surgery in 2018.
In his final 25 games with the Cubs, Darvish was 12-7 with a 2.40 ERA with 211 strikeouts compared to just 21 walks. That included an 2.01 ERA with a 93 strikeouts compared to 14 walks when in 12 games in 2020 when he finished as the runner-up to Trevor Bauer for the NL Cy Young Award.
In 37 games since the All-Star Break in 2019, Darvish is 18-8 with a 2.35 ERA with 295 strikeouts compared to 13 walks.
Jake Arrieta will oppose him on Wednesday and it’s fitting, in a sense. In 2018, he was allowed to leave Chicago in free agency as Darvish signed with the Cubs. Then in May of 2019, when Arrieta returned for the first time as a member of the Phillies, it was Darvish that faced him with the Cubs.
Neither pitcher got a decision in a 5-4 Phillies win in ten innings.