Hello friends, Uncle Juice has taken his seat at the bar and is ready to simplify what is going on the Northside. Since the last time we spoke, the Cubs find themselves in the middle of a four game win streak much as a result of shut down starting pitching. A thirty-one scoreless inning streak was snapped early on this afternoon as Yu Darvish served up back to back home runs to both Escobar and Peralta. Which brings me to my next question, when will Yu Darvish join the competition? But first, let’s rewind to 2016, the Cubs rotation was anchored by the likes of Lester, Arrieta, Hammel, Hendricks and Lackey. A rotation that always mentioned a silent competition. While listening to a Jon Lester interview on a local radio station, I remember him mentioning a competition within the game. He mentioned following the lead of the previous days starting pitcher. A quiet competition was born and each looked to out pitch the other. The Cubs rode this friendly duel to their first World Series championship in 108 years. This type of attitude is something I believe we are witnessing yet again after a rocky start. With Jon Lester on the disabled list, Hendricks, Hamels, and Quintana have found their rhythm. Kyle Hendricks has found the pinpoint control that makes him the silent assassin. His last start against the Diamondbacks, Hendricks threw 7 strong innings of three hit baseball while keeping hitters uncomfortable on a cold windy day. Cole Hamels has strung together two pitching gems back to back dropping his ERA to 2.77 as a result. Cole has rode his stellar fastball change up as of late, keeping hitters guessing in the box as to what pitch is coming next. This brings us to Jose Quintana, a key piece brought over in 2017 in the crosstown trade. A deal that sent highly touted prospect Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, a ransom that has sparked the Southside rebuild and created a debate among baseball fans in Chicago. Jose in recent years has struggled to find the command of a third lethal pitch, but this year has been a different story. He has found the biting curveball that White Sox fans enamored for five seasons. This competition has brought the best out of these three starters and most likely has Jon Lester chomping at the bit for a return. While the competition has been beneficial for most not all seem to be joining the fun. Yu Darvish struggled yet again on Saturday pitching five innings while giving up three runs on 5 hits and yet another early exit. This is the 12th consecutive start by Yu that he has failed to pitch into the 7Th inning, his last dates back to September 25th as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. A Yu Darvish start has obtained a certain feel since his signing, it’s become a day plagued with what ifs and regret. A day in the bleachers where everyone quietly opens their phone to gaze at Philadelphia’s box score, to see Jake Arrieta just went another 7 Innings while only surrendering a run (look it up folks it’s the truth). I fear that this is only the beginning of his struggles, that Yu is destined to end up in the same breath as the likes of Jacque Jones or Letroy Hawkins. In times of struggle I lean on one thing in life, hope. I hope Yu gets this together, becomes the star we paid for and leaves this all behind. With all that said, I struggle to shake the popular quote from Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane”. So raise your glasses and let’s cheers to hope, the hope we receive the former rather than the latter.
Featured Photo: Chicago Tribune