Yu Darvish’s first start of 2020 yields mixed results

Darvish worked four innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out five. The Cubs right-hander hopes to finish his pitches better in his next start.

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AP Photo/Paul Beaty

It wasn’t Yu Darvish’s best and it wasn’t his worst, but the Cubs’ No. 2 starter’s first outing of 2020 yielded mixed results.

Darvish labored through four innings of the Cubs’ 8-3 loss to the Brewers. He allowed three earned runs and six hits and struck out five.

“He battled through some innings. They put some really good at-bats on him,” David Ross said. “He did some labor there early on in some innings, and so I wanted to get him out of there. It was hot out. I could tell he was working hard. Just not quite the finish that he wanted with his pitches.”

Darvish didn’t surrender a walk, but his control within the strike zone slipped as he left pitches out over the plate — an issue that affected him in the Cubs’ final exhibition game of the summer.

The right-hander has been working on finishing his pitches better to keep the ball from leaking out over the heart of the plate. The lack of finish came back to bite him on a fourth-inning single by Lorenzo Cain and an RBI triple to Ben Gamel in the following at-bat.

“Yeah, especially with the splitter. I’m still missing the splitter a lot,” Darvish said. “I wanted to go longer. I was expecting I could go more than 80 pitches today. But I threw 20 pitches like almost every inning. … I’m going to work on the splitter and changeup. I need those pitches, for sure.

“My strength is 100%. I have a lot of pitches. So I still have to work on a couple of things. We’re almost there.”

Cubs, Brewers have words

It wouldn’t be a Cubs-Brewers game if there weren’t some words exchanged between the sides, and Saturday was no different. The unique environment of having no fans in the stands allows players and coaches not only to see everything, but to hear everything.

The exchange began between catchers Willson Contreras and Omar Narvaez while the Brewers came off the field after the third inning. While both teams exchanged pleasantries and even came over the dugout railings, nothing ensued.

Contreras and Javy Baez were visibly upset after being hit by pitches in the game. Narvaez also was plunked twice.

“That was expected,” Ross said of the exchanges. “I don’t know if Major League Baseball saw that coming, but if you’re in the dugout in this environment, you’re going to expect some of that. When you can hear everybody and everything that everybody says, that’s going to spark some intensity. The umpires can hear it, as well.”

“It’s just baseball. It’s not a big deal to us,” said Kyle Schwarber, who homered in the fifth. “There’s always [scrums] throughout the year, and there’s going to be [scrums] throughout this year, too.

“The only thing is we’re going to always have to be careful with the new [suspension] rules. Not being able to really get to go into each other and really vent and clear anything like that. You’ve got to keep the tempers down to the best of our abilities and cheer on the boys.”

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