Darvish looks for 1st win of May as Cubs face Reds
May has been good to Yu Darvish in the past, but the Chicago Cubs right-hander is still looking for his first win this month.
He gets his next opportunity on Saturday afternoon against the visiting Cincinnati Reds in the second game of the three-game series.
Darvish, who came into this season with a 12-6 career mark in May, has four no-decisions this month and a 5.12 ERA.
Cincinnati has been tough to put away, winning three of four against the Cubs this season. The Reds are the only team to win a series against Chicago since April 7.
They rallied for a win in the series opener on Friday night. Cincinnati trailed 4-0 after three innings and 5-4 with three outs left before winning 6-5 on a two-run homer by Eugenio Suarez.
Darvish (2-3, 5.06 ERA) will be up against a lineup that welcomed back right fielder Yasiel Puig on Friday after he missed two games with a right shoulder sprain. Puig had two hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs.
Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto also looked comfortable at the plate. The six-time NL All Star came into the weekend hitting .162 with two extra-base hits this month. He delivered two hits, including a double, and scored two runs in the series opener.
Darvish sailed through five innings in his last outing on Monday against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies before giving up three runs in the sixth to fall behind 3-1. The Phillies eventually won 5-4 in 10 innings.
Darvish faced the Reds on May 15 and gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out 11 and did not walk a batter, something that has plagued him this season. Darvish left with a 3-2 lead before the Reds rallied for a 6-5 walk-off win in 10 innings.
Darvish is 2-0 in four career starts against Cincinnati with a 2.25 ERA.
"He knows what he can do here now," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Darvish. "He's had a wonderful career to this point but, now, doing it here is really important to him."
Reds starter Tyler Mahle will try to win two straight starts after going 13 in a row without a win dating to last season.
Mahle (1-5, 3.51 ERA) threw six shutout innings on Saturday against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers before the bullpen finished off the shutout in the 4-0 win. The Dodgers came into the weekend second in the National League with 257 runs, trailing only the Cubs (260).
"It says so much about the way he's progressing and developing," Reds manager David Bell said of Mahle's latest outing.
Before his win against Los Angeles, Mahle's previous win came on July 6 against the Cubs in Chicago, when he allowed one run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings and Cincinnati won 3-2.
Mahle has given his team a chance to win in several outings this season. He's given up one run or fewer in five of nine starts, but the offense combined for two runs in the first four before scoring four runs against the Dodgers.
Mahle takes the blame for his poor record, however.
"We've had some games where, if I'd just pitched a decent game, we might've won," he said.
Mahle is 2-1 in three starts overall against the Cubs with a 2.41 ERA.
Cubs shortstop Javier Baez is 4-for-8 with a home run of Mahle in his career.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 24, 2019