The Rundown: Promising Starts from Darvish and Underwood, Low Five, Perspective

So, uh, the Cubs haven’t looked great lately. Which is fine for me, since nothing looks great after having my eyes dilated. It also means that I’m going to make this very short in order to save myself from a headache. Come to think of it, I’ll probably be saving you some discomfort as well.

Monday starts

Despite the disappointment of the final outcome, Duane Underwood Jr.’s debut last night in LA put the Cubs in position to win the game. He was running in sand for a while in that 1st inning, but settled in nicely and showcased great stuff at times. He also displayed the very inconsistency that’s kept him off the radar these last couple seasons.

Underwood used pretty much his whole repertoire against the first batter he faced, getting strikes on the fastball, curve, and change to strike out Joc Pederson. Nerves were clearly evident as he completely lost control of at least two changeups in that opening frame, but his easy gas was flashing mid-to-upper 90’s and his curve was bending nicely at times.

One of the only two hits the 23-year-old allowed was a leadoff dinger to Kike Hernandez in the 2nd, but he ended up closing out that inning and the next two with fewer total pitches (36) than he needed to get through that initial one (41).

With Tyler Chatwood expected back for the upcoming Twins series, Underwood isn’t likely to see another big league start before September. He did everything he was asked to do, though, and could really be a dude if he can just iron out some of those little wrinkles and keep his fastball and change down in the zone.

Yu Darvish was also on the bump Monday night as he made a rehab start for low-A South Bend. It was similar to an early spring start in that he was really just trying to throw strikes, but it was encouraging to see the righty working in the curve and getting the velocity up to 94 at times.

He only needed 57 pitches to get through five innings, striking out five in the process. Darvish admitted after the game that his right arm fatigued pretty quickly, though he didn’t feel any pain. The Cubs will wait to see how he responds to this outing before determining the next step, which could be a return to the big club.

Underwood’s start helped to set the rotation back on track, so the Cubs don’t necessarily need Darvish to come back for the Twins series. Then they’ve got off-days sandwiching a holiday two-gamer with the Tigers, so one more rehab start lets Darvish get a little more rest before facing the Reds.

Losing sucks

The Cubs have now lost five straight, which is not fun by any means and isn’t something I’m going to dwell on here. They’re still in a better spot than they were last year at this time, so there’s that. And when you think about getting through this current rough patch and getting guys healthy, there’s reason to believe they can turn things around.

I’m not here to shoot rainbows up your backside, though, so feel free to be pissed/confused/detached or whatever when you’re watching this team.

More perspective

It’s getting really annoying to keep typing, so I’ll just cheat and share a tweet. Hey, that rhymed.

Chatwood becomes father

The pitcher and his wife welcomed a son, Owen Cruze Chatwood, Sunday night. Veronica Chatwood now owns a sparkling 1.0 Baby per 9 month rate and initial reports are that the baby has already walked.

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