Yu Darvish has checked off some significant boxes this year, but he's still searching for his first win at Wrigley Field.
Darvish has pitched well in Los Angeles, had a good outing against Jake Arrieta and even added his first career 2-hit game to his resume Friday afternoon (prior to that he had never even had a 2-hit SEASON in the big leagues).
But that first "W" at the Friendly Confines eludes him.
Friday also marked his 10th straight no-decision, which extends his current Cubs record:
10 straight no-decisions for Yu Darvish. Extends his #Cubs franchise record.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 21, 2019
The last MLB pitcher to go 10 straight starts without recording a decision was Randy Lerch for the Phillies from May 21-July 7, 1977.
"Not only frustrating — weird," Darvish said after the game. "I am not losing. I am not winning. It's just weird. I want to win."
Two separate times, the Cubs staked Darvish to a lead in Friday's 5-4 loss (both times, he was a central part of the offensive rally), but he gave up the lead the next half-inning — first on a 2-run shot by Jeff McNeil and then on a solo homer from Michael Conforto.
Darvish acknowledged he has to do a better job of shutting down the other team and making leads hold up, but he also feels like he's in the right place mentally now.
"[A couple months ago] when we scored, I was thinking, 'I have to do good right here.' But now, I'm not thinking. I just have focus for every pitch," Darvish said.
His final line wasn't great — 4 earned runs on 4 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts in 6 innings — but Darvish looked solid and was efficient, pounding the strike zone and letting his defense work behind him.
It was also the sixth time in his last seven starts that he's gone at least 6 innings.
Over his last eight outings including Friday, Darvish has a 4.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 53 strikeouts against only 14 walks in 48.2 innings.
That's still not ace-level production, but he's clearly gotten the free passes under control and appears to have turned a corner mentally.
"I have no issue with the way he's throwing the baseball," Joe Maddon said. "He's throwing the ball really well. If there's anything to look at, if he could just put a topper on after we score a couple points — him getting out there clean and coming back in, I think that would really help get away from the no-decision situation.
"'Cause physically, I am really pleased with the way he's pitching. His energy, obviously gets 2 big hits for us today — there's nothing to complain about. You're always looking for that little nuance — what's that little thing, that little nugget that we could be better at? I think, more than anything, if you could just shut them down after we score, that's probably his best avenue."