Ian Happ describes what it’s like to face Yu Darvish
With the regular season just over two weeks away, the Cubs have been dialing up the intensity early in summer camp.
That means scrimmages where Cubs pitchers face a lineup of their teammates.
The first such instance came Saturday as Yu Darvish squared off against Kyle Hendricks.
Ian Happ was leading off for the home team facing Darvish and described the experience on the latest episode of his podcast “The Compound.”
“First at-bat of this spring training, I’m facing Sir Yu Darvish. He’s a very good pitcher,” Happ said. “I’m leading off the game — he throws me a first pitch ball. I’m like, alright, it’s 1-0, he’s just gonna throw me a fastball right down the middle, we’re gonna even it up at 1-1.
“He throws me a slider. He throws me a slider his second pitch, my second pitch I’ve seen. I swung and I thought I was hitting a home run — I missed it probably by 6 feet. Is that so, Yu? Is that so? 1-0 sliders for the first hitter of camp?”
Dakota Mekkes, Cubs pitcher and Happ’s podcast partner, then weighed in, saying: “[Darvish] literally has 15 pitches, so he’s not gonna double up.”
Happ concurred: “He’s a tough guy to prepare for.”
Darvish actually replied to Happ on Twitter Tuesday afternoon explaining the pitch was a cutter, not a slider:
That was Cutter Ian.— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) July 7, 2020
By last count, Darvish has 11 pitches which includes the “Supreme,” his new offering that is essentially a 2-seam splitter that dives down and in on right-handed hitters:
@faridyu What's this grip look like? It's a narrower splitter, right?— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 6, 2020
Happ wound up striking out in the at-bat against Darvish Saturday.