CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs are counting on Yu Darvish to help them avoid a playoff sweep by the Miami Marlins.
They are going to have to wait another day to see if Darvish can deliver.
Game 2 of the NL wild-card series between the Cubs and Marlins was postponed Thursday because there was rain in the forecast.
Miami was taking batting practice under sunny skies when the game was pushed back. The teams will meet Friday, with rookie Sixto Sánchez pitching for the Marlins. If Game 3 is needed, it would be played Saturday. Miami won 5-1 in the opener on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Darvish was a steady presence for the Cubs throughout the pandemic-shortened season, joining the NL Cy Young Award conversation. A four-time All-Star with Texas, he tied Cleveland's Shane Bieber for the major league lead with eight wins and was second in the NL to Cincinnati's Trevor Bauer with a 2.01 ERA.
“Last year, you could really see it click for him, just kind of getting after it a little bit and not being so fine,” veteran Jon Lester said. “I think he felt comfortable with where he was at, physically, getting situated here in Chicago. You could really see him go out there with a peace of mind and just compete and pitch. When you allow a person with how much talent he has to do that, you're seeing what you could get.”
The Cubs are getting exactly what they expected when they signed Darvish to a $126 million, six-year deal prior to the 2018 season. It just took longer than anticipated.
He struggled through elbow and triceps injuries in his first season-and-a-half in Chicago. But he started pitching like his old self down the stretch last year. And he is a big reason why the Cubs are in the postseason for the fifth time in six years after missing out in 2019.