Cubs’ comeback falls short in exhibition loss
Yu Darvish struggled early but eventually found his form in Monday’s exhibition game against the White Sox.
The offense tried to bail him out with a late rally that ultimately fell short in a 5-3 loss to the South Siders at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Darvish — who is penciled in to start the Cubs’ second game of the regular season Saturday against the Brewers — was touched up for 5 runs in the 1st inning before recording an out in his final summer camp tune-up.
The veteran right-hander gave up 3 straight hits, walked Edwin Encarnacion and then surrendered a grand slam to Eloy Jimenez. As his pitch count rose to 29, the inning was called with only 2 outs to keep him from needlessly extending himself in a game that doesn’t impact the standings.
From there, Darvish settled in, only allowing 2 hits and a walk in 3 innings of work and finished with 67 pitches.
“He got a little sharper as things progressed,” David Ross said. “The [split-finger] really came into play a little later on, getting the ball out in front — we saw some real depth in the split finger. Just didn’t find that release point early on, especially with 2 strikes. Getting ahead well, pitches looked fine and then just an 0-0 fastball home run. All in all, stuff looked good, not quite sharp there early on.”
Offensively, the Cubs were limited to 1 baserunner in the first 6 innings — a Kyle Schwarber rocket single off left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
But in the 7th, the lineup mounted a rally and pushed across 3 runs thanks in part to a pair of errors by White Sox shortstop Danny Mendick. Kris Bryant started things with a leadoff single and Schwarber later added an RBI knock. Javy Báez also drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.
In the 9th, Josh Phegley doubled and Daniel Descalso singled with 2 outs before Steven Souza Jr. flew out to end the game.
The Cubs have one more exhibition game scheduled (Wednesday night against the Twins at Wrigley Field) before the regular season opener Friday.