Padres’ Yu Darvish wins in return to Wrigley Field; tornado warning delays start of game
It was Darvish’s first start at Wrigley since the Cubs traded him to the Padres after the 2020 season.
For the first time this season, and the second time since trading him to the Padres after the 2020 season, the Cubs faced Yu Darvish. It was Darvish’s first time facing his former team at Wrigley Field.
“I think swinging at strikes is the key,” Cubs manager David Ross said of facing Darvish. “Getting him in the middle of the plate. And he’s got a lot of different looks, a lot of different sliders. I think we know him pretty well from that standpoint and what the mix looks like.’’
Darvish (6-3) put on a clinic, limiting the Cubs to one run in eight innings in San Diego’s 4-1 victory. The run came on Yan Gomes’ second-inning homer. Darvish seemed to get better as the game progressed, facing the minimum from the third inning through the seventh.
The Cubs threatened to rally in the eighth with back-to-back singles by Christopher Morel and Willson Contreras. But Darvish struck out Ian Happ to end the inning.
Outfielder Seiya Suzuki will have to wait for his first at-bat against his friend.
Suzuki leaned on Darvish for advice as he went through free agency this spring, transitioning from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. But Darvish didn’t pitch in the series between the Cubs and Padres in San Diego earlier this year, and Suzuki is on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left ring finger.
Suzuki, however, said he was still excited about the matchup.
“I’ve never seen him pitch in a live game before,” Suzuki said. “So I’m looking forward to it.”
Steele shakes it off
The Cubs avoided disaster in the first inning Monday night after left-hander Justin Steele tried to barehand a comebacker hit by Padres No. 2 hitter Jake Cronenworth.
Ross and a couple of trainers joined Steele on the mound to examine his throwing hand, but he stayed in the game.
Steele retired the next seven batters and held the Padres to one run in seven innings.
The Cubs’ rotation is already thin with three pitchers on the 15-day injured list: Wade Miley (strained left shoulder), Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) and Drew Smyly (strained right oblique).
They have yet to announce their starter for Wednesday.
Tornado sirens blared from several directions, and the sky to the north of Wrigley Field turned an ominous dark gray-green, pushing back the start time for the series opener. After an 85-minute delay, the teams took the field.
The Cape Cod Baseball League announced its 2022 Hall of Fame class over the weekend, and it included some familiar names. Stroman (Orleans) and Happ (Harwich) will be among the inductees.
“Beyond honored!” Stroman posted to Twitter with the announcement.
The ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Harwich, Massachusetts.