After last night’s game in Cincinnati was postponed – one of the few to be postponed by rain rather than COVID-19 – Yu Darvish got to face the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the Reds, which is extraordinarily good luck.
Pittsburgh was in town tonight for the first of three games to face the Cubs. How did things go?
The Cubs rode an excellent start from Darvish and the Cubs’ grinding out at bats to a 6-3 win over the Bucs to kick off the home stand. Let’s get to this.
Darvish. He looked like the Darvish that we saw in the second half last year. 6 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out seven. So now each starter in the Cubs rotation has a quality start. Hopefully this means the stinker he had against the Brewers last week was just a blip. Having a dominant Darvish will make David Ross look like a genius every five games.
The Cubs’ approach at the plate. The Cubs came into this game leading all teams in the majors with an average of 4.17 pitches per plate appearance. That number went up tonight. This is something we haven’t seen from the Cubs since 2016, where they just wear out pitching staffs. If this is Rossyball, I’m on board.
Jason Heyward. Not only did he have a two run single in the 5th, he had an at bat in the 7th where he saw 11 pitches, ending with a groundout that advanced Willson Contreras from second to third.
Jason Kipnis. The player from parts unknown hit his first home run as a Cub and added a single. The Cubs’ biggest offensive problem at this point seems to be that they only have one spot in the order for Kipnis, Nico Hoerner and David Bote.
The Cubs signed former Cleveland closer Cody Allen to a minor league deal, which means that for him to show up in Wrigley Field someone will get DFAed or “injured”. He had a 7.89 BB/9 and a 3.52 HR/9 last season with the Angels last year. So he’ll blend right in here. Guh.
Craig “In Play, Run(s)” Kimbrel. Two batters, two long balls. The next two were hit on the screws but right at guys. He finally got a groundout to end it, but until Hoerner threw that ball to Rizzo, the game felt like it was in doubt. All five balls had exit velocity over 100 MPH. This is not good.
Add the St. Louis Cardinals to the list of teams with COVID-19 positive players. Two Cards tested positive, and their game against the Brewers was called tonight so the entire team could isolate and be tested. At this point it’s pretty much delusional to think this season will not be canceled. Jeff Passan reported tonight that Rob Manfred is considering it, while throwing the players under the bus. Did we pick the right time to start a baseball site or what?
The Cubs and Pirates square off again tomorrow night. Let’s enjoy whatever seasosn we have left.