Chicago Cubs: Darvish’s redemption, Rizzo’s pain in win

Friday night, Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish redeemed himself after his shaky first start.

Six days ago, the Chicago Cubs were coming off their first game of the 2020 season — a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Yu Darvish took the mound in his first start, and through a couple of innings, it seemed to be going pretty well, all things considered.

But, in the fourth inning, Darvish unraveled. In total, he pitched just four innings while allowing six hits and giving up three runs. He did strike out five batters, though.

The Cubs’ bullpen went on to allow five more runs in the 8-3 loss to Milwaukee, which has become a common theme once again — a porous bullpen.

Friday night, though, the Cubs entered 4-2 against another divisional foe, the 2-4 Pittsburgh Pirates. Darvish took the mound in his second start of the season, and boy did he deliver in a game the Cubs would ultimately win 6-3.

Yu went six innings, giving up just a pair of hits altogether while striking out seven and giving up only one walk. 56 of his 86 pitches thrown were strikes, and that pitch count is a thing of beauty; 86 pitches through six innings. If the Cubs can get that kind of production out of Darvish more games than not, they would be thrilled.

Since his time with the Cubs began, Darvish has had a tough time getting past the fourth or fifth innings. Those are typically his dwindling points, as seen in his first start a week ago. But, getting a quality start out of Darvish usually equals a win, just as it did Friday night.

The Chicago Cubs wrote a little more history on Friday night, thanks to Anthony Rizzo.

Early in the game, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch from Pirates starter Trevor Williams. That particular HBP was a significant one, to say the least.

In Game 7 of this young season, Rizzo has already been hit six times. This one hit him on the inside of the kneecap, and he grimaced for a while afterwards, yet stayed in the game. Over the course of the rest of the night, Rizzo looked as though it continued to bother him at times. His 2-RBI single in the 7th proved he was more than ready to keep playing, though.

That pitch also moved Rizzo to 21st all-time in career HBP’s, where he is now tied with Chet Lemon and has been hit a whopping 151 times over his career.

For those wondering, the all-time leader in HBP’s is Hughie Jennings, whose career began almost 130 years ago, back in 1891.

One of the most well-known parts of Rizzo’s game has always been his stance, which is much further up over home plate. But, it works for the guy. He gets on base consistently, and this is part of the game he will continue to live with.

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