Posted on May 27, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
For the second time this season, the Chicago Cubs have placed Yu Darvish on the 10-day DL. The Cubs made the move prior to Saturday’s game against the Giants, sending Darvish to the DL because of triceps tendinitis. The injury is yet another setback in what has been a disappointing tenure in Chicago for Darvish after signing a $126 million contract over the winter. However, a lingering arm issue could help to explain some of Darvish’s struggles this season.
Darvish was scheduled to pitch Sunday night’s game against the Giants. However, Tyler Chatwood will be moved up a day and make that start in his place. It remains to be seen who the Cubs will call upon Monday when they need an extra starter. If Darvish’s triceps issue turns out to be minor, he could start as early as next Saturday when he’s eligible to come off the DL. But it’s unclear if he’ll be ready to return to the rotation by then.
Through eight starts, Darvish is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA. Those numbers aren’t exactly what the Cubs were expecting when they signed him in February. Cubs manager actually had to publicly defend Darvish in late April, assuring the media that the Japanese ace would get things turned around. However, his performances since then have continued to be erratic. He’s struggled with his control and has been unable to go deep into games.
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Darvish also went to the DL earlier this month because of flu-like symptoms. Since returning from the illness, he has had two of his better starts of the season. In one of those starts, Darvish was forced out after four innings because of a cramp. Nevertheless, over those two starts, Darvish pitched 10 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out 12.
After allowing one run over six innings last time out, Darvish was hoping to build off that success Sunday against the Giants. However, he has been bothered by triceps soreness all week. On Saturday, the Cubs decided it wasn’t a great idea for him to try to push through the soreness.
On the surface, the Cubs don’t appear to be too worried about Darvish. If they were, he likely would have been put on the DL right after his last start. That being said, he’s three years removed from Tommy John surgery, so any arm problems should be approached cautiously. Of course, if a little extra rest can help Darvish turn his season around after a rough couple months, the DL stint could be a blessing in disguise.
On the other side of the coin, the Cubs don’t have a lot of rotation depth. Most of their top pitching prospects are still at least a year away from being ready for the majors. Despite Darvish’s struggles this season, the Cubs need him taking the ball every fifth day. The Cubs are in the middle of a tight NL Central and can’t afford to have young, unproven pitchers making starts over Darvish. The club can only hope he recovers quickly and the old Darvish can get back on the mound as soon as possible.