It looked like it could be another one of THOSE in the first inning for the Cubs, and especially Yu Darvish. He couldn't locate his slider very well, threw 39 pitches, and you were already envisioning all the headlines and hashtags that were coming. Then Darvish would just throw five more sliders in the next five innings, concluding that if you throw 96 with location that's probably enough for a Sunday. It was, he never really sweated again, and the Cubs had a pretty clean 6-1 win to cap off a 5-2 roadie. All in all, pretty good.
I don't know that Darvish is going to be successful long-term throwing 60% fastballs, and way more than that for the last five innings of his outing. But when it's generating whiffs 20% f the time, maybe what Yu presupposes is...maybe he will? Yu has a change, splitter, and curve, but we hardly saw any of them today. Yu's location is going to have to be immaculate, and today it was. A fastball located on both sides of the plate can go a long way, I suppose.
-All the offense the Cubs would need came in the second. Ian Happ walked, because that's his thing now, and then Schwarber sent a liner into the right field stands that if you described as a "screamer" wouldn't do it justice. It was a banshee. I'm not sure it was ever more than 20 feet off the ground, and I also know there was no doubt it was leaving the park. It might have still been going up when it caved in someone's chest out there. Javy Baez got back on track with a Jericho Missile the next AB on a hanger from Mahle that basically paused and waited patiently to be sent on its way. Zobrist would add another two innings later, and Zobes needs to show some power. It's never a terribly good sign when your OBP is higher than your slugging.
-It was pretty much coasting after that, as the Cubs tacked on a couple more off Tomato Can #7 that came out of the Reds pen. Strop once again came in and laughed at anyone trying to hit him, Edwards was able to get a scoreless outing after some troubled seas this week, and Morrow struck out all three Reds who were desperately trying to get home for the night.
Considering how well the Braves insist on playing, and how hard it is to actually sweep a double-header, 5-2 on this trip is just about all you can ask. Let's get a chart:
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