The Cubs and Yu Darvish didn’t get off on the right foot after agreeing on a six-year, $126 million contract in February last year. Darvish made eight ineffective starts and otherwise was absent due to elbow and triceps injuries. The right-hander underwent debridement surgery in September.
Darvish started against the White Sox in a Cactus League game on Sunday afternoon and fared quite well as he works his way back to form. He held the opposition hitless with three strikeouts. After the game, Darvish was quite optimistic about his performance. Via The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney), Darvish said, “I’m throwing 97 [MPH] and the slider was very good and the split was good, too, so that’s the best stuff in my life.”
That’s a slight variation on “I’m in the best shape of my life.” Not to poke too much fun, because a healthy and effective Darvish is a fun Darvish. The 32-year-old entered last season with a 3.42 ERA and 1,021 strikeouts in 832 1/3 career innings.
Darvish will hope to be a mainstay in a Cubs starting rotation that also includes Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks, and José Quintana.
The Twins have arguably baseball’s scariest offense. Their average of 5.87 runs per game is second only to the Yankees (5.90) while leading the league in slugging percentage (.501), OPS (.840), and home runs (244). White Sox starter Lucas Giolito made their offense look impotent on Wednesday, blanking them over nine innings for his second shutout of the season. The White Sox won 4-0.
Giolito allowed just three hits and walked none while fanning 12 batters over his nine innings of work. He’s now 14-6 with a 3.20 ERA and a 194/51 K/BB ratio in 151 2/3 innings on the season. Giolito is very much in the AL Cy Young Award picture. The Astros’ Justin Verlander leads the league in ERA at 2.81. A strong finish to the season for Giolito could certainly see his ERA dip below 3.00.
As mentioned, Wednesday’s shutout was Giolito’s second of the season. He and the Indians’ Shane Bieber are the only pitchers with multiple shutouts this season. They are two of only 21 pitchers with a shutout.