CHICAGO – About an hour before the stadium show begins Monday evening, a hurricane warning went into effect on Chicago’s north side. Sirens went off all over Riggleville, and fans took cover in the foyer.
But before the heavy rain, yo darwishwho was due to start with the Padres, stayed on the field, going through a series of stretches near the right-hand warning lane.
In that moment, before his first start at Wrigley Field since the December 2020 deal that sent him to San Diego, Darvish took some time to think. He signed a six-year contract with the Cubs ahead of the 2018 season. In Chicago, he hit some highs – including a runner-up to the Cy Young in 20’s. He also struggled with some low dips – triceps and elbow injuries in 2018. Which concluded his season after just eight games and 4.95 ERA.
So, while tens of thousands hid in Wrigley Field, Darvish decided he wanted to suck it all up for a minute or two.
“To be honest with you,” Darwish said afterwards, “it was a little emotional moment for me.” Hurricane warning came, everyone left. The fans left the stands. It was like a moment between me and Wrigley Field.”
After a delay of one hour and 25 minutes, Darwish reminded the faithful of Wrigley exactly what they were missing. The veteran right-hander was fantastic (again) Monday night in Padres’ 4-1 win over the Cubs. He made eight innings of one-ball runs, hit seven times and allowed five hits.
“This is clearly where a lot has happened to me – or a lot has happened to me,” Darwish said. “But at the end of the day, I’m really grateful to be here, and to do the shows.”
Homer Jan Gomez’s singles in the second half was Darvish’s only real mistake of the night, a suspended slider that ended up in the left field benches. From there, Darwish was practically untouchable against his former team. He used a tried-and-true formula that they should know all too well in Chicago. It was heavy on the cutter early on, and when the Cubs hitters had picked up that spin – he blasted the high-octane four-stitch fastball right next to them.
Then, at the defining moment of the game, Darwish reached for his bag of tricks. With two outs and a restricted run on the board in the eighth inning, he took a lead over left Cubs player Ian Hap, 1-2, then threw a sloppy 91-mph break below the strike zone.
“One of the best stadiums I have tonight,” Darwish said.
Hap swung and missed. Darwish jumped off the hill and shrieked. Later, closer Taylor Rogers He slammed the door in a 38-24 start for Padres, their best in franchise history and good enough to take them to a hypothetical tie for first place in the Western National League.
After that, Padres decided to keep things in perspective.
“We still have 100 more,” he said. Jake Kronworthwhich went 3 against 4. “That’s a lot.”
This big picture show has become a San Diego theme. The crash of 2021 is still fresh in everyone’s mind. In fact, no one at Padres Club seemed to realize that they had moved into a tie to lead the division.
“We are just worried about us,” said the first policeman Eric Hosmer. “…We stick to the things we’re good at, and we think we’ll be on top of that rankings at the end of the year.”
Indeed, there is reason to believe Padres’ early season success is more sustainable this time around. This is mostly due to their seven-deep rotation.
Joe Musgrove He was the undisputed legend for the Padres this season. But remove one San Francisco starter from the equation, and Darvish was a close second. He lowered his ERA to 3.35 on Monday night. Without that ninth touch against the Giants, it would be 2.20.
“It’s really hard to come up with a plan against him, because he has so many pitches that move in different ways,” Hosmer said. “It’s kind of a hitter’s nightmare.”
“He has so many weapons and so many different shapes of smashing balls and fast balls, he really is just a ball wizard,” said acting manager Ryan Flaherty.
Not that anyone in Chicago needs a reminder. They’ve seen it here before. Once the rain stopped and the sky calmed down on Monday night, antique Yu Darvish returned to Wrigley Field, only this time dressed in brown.
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”