CHICAGO – One of the trades that turned the thinking about the Cubs’ intentions came late in the 2020 calendar year, and it concerned the player on the mound Monday night.
The trade of Yu Darvish, a Cy Young finalist that season, along with Victor Caratini seemed to signal a shift toward a restructuring of the franchise as the majority of the 2016 core reached the end of their contracts.
This would come to pass at the trade deadline when a flurry of deals ended the era and sent the Cubs toward the bottom of the National League in what appears to be a rebuild.
Right now, the hosts are still there as Darvish made his return to Wrigley Field on Monday for the first time since the trade as the Padres start a four-game series in Chicago. He felt right at home at the “Friendly Confines,” and even continued his stretching routine even with a Tornado Warning going on early Monday night.
The same would translate on the mound as Darvish held the Cubs down for eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts without a walk in a 4-1 victory. It improved the pitcher’s record to 6-3 on the season with his ERA dropping to 3.35 on the season.
What was frustrating for Cubs fans is that Justin Steele was able to match Darvish through seven innings, allowing just three hits and a run with three strikeouts compared to just one walk. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn’t hold down San Diego after he left, with Rowan Wick allowing three runs on three hits in the eighth which allowed the Padres to put the game away.
After this defeat, the Cubs have now lost seven straight games, with this one being delayed around an hour after severe weather blew threw Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, the storm would continue for the hosts, with one of their former standout pitchers shutting them down a year-and-a-half after a trade that signaled the winds were about to change on the north side.