Cubs feel fortunate to end homestand with a win
In a short season, every game is big.
But Sunday’s game at Wrigley Field might fall under the huge category for the 2020 Cubs.
After a pair of losses to their Crosstown counterparts, the Cubs were hoping to salvage the final game of the series. They did exactly that thanks to clutch performances from Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber, hanging on for a 2-1 victory.
The win pushed the Cubs’ record to 5-7 on the long homestand.
“It’s just nice in general when you’re not playing your best baseball to come away with some wins,” Ross said. “How it turned out and how we played this homestand definitely not indicative of who we are as a ballclub.”
Darvish gave up a 2nd inning homer to Jose Abreu — his 6th blast of the series — but limited the damage there, striking out 10 over 7 frames. He generated 26 swings-and-misses in Sunday’s start and threw 73 of his 103 pitches for strikes (70.9%).
Darvish did all this against a White Sox offense that was red-hot entering the game — with 11 home runs in the previous two games of the series — and he battled after the early home run to keep his team in the game long enough for the offense to break through.
“This offense is as locked in as we’ve seen this year and he kept those guys off balance,” David Ross said. “The one home run to Abreu — I don’t think I’ve seen too many guys as hot as he is right now.”
Schwarber provided the lift on the other side of the ball, sending a hanging breaking ball from former Cubs prospect Dylan Cease into the center field bleachers. The 2-run shot was the offensive spark the North Siders were looking for after missing out on rallies in the previous 2 innings.
The Cubs had runners on second and third with 1 out in the 4th inning after Schwarber doubled, but Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice and then Willson Contreras was caught stealing. In the 5th, the Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out but a strikeout and a double play killed the rally.
The White Sox loaded the bases with 2 outs in the 9th, but Jeremy Jeffress got a groundout to end the game.
Darvish is now 5-1 on the season with a 1.70 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with 44 strikeouts in 37 innings. He’s been locked in since the All-Star Break of last season:
Since last season's All-Star Break, Yu Darvish has 162 K and only 13 BB in 118 2/3 IP. pic.twitter.com/hPjAb827kC— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) August 23, 2020
“I feel confident right now,” Darvish said.
As the Cubs embark on their longest road trip of the season (10 games in 11 days), they can leave Wrigley Field with a good feeling Sunday.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We didn’t play our best baseball this series, but that’s the nature of this beast. There’s gonna be times when we’re not gonna be playing at our best, feeling our best — whatever it is — and we’re gonna keep grinding through it. This was a very nice win to have, especially when we’re gonna be heading on the road. … Everyone can look forward to having a happy flight here.”
The Cubs (17-10) begin a three-game stint in Detroit Monday night with coverage beginning on Marquee Sports Network at 5 p.m.