Yu Darvish is finally pitching like an All-Star again, and the Chicago Cubs have emerged as early leaders in the NL Central.
The Cubs entered this season at a bit of a crossroads. Since winning the World Series in 2016, they’ve won only one postseason series. They didn’t make the playoffs at all in 2019, and David Ross replaced Joe Maddon as manager before this season.
The NL Central was hard to figure out coming into 2020, but Chicago broke out early to a 13-3 record, and the Cubs still lead the division by 3 ½ games even after dropping the last three games of their series against Milwaukee.
Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Brewers in Chicago’s 4-2 victory Thursday night.
A four-time All-Star with Texas, Darvish was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, then signed with the Cubs. He’s dealt with elbow and triceps injuries while with Chicago, but this year he’s 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA and playing an important role in his team’s fast start.
The Cubs are winning despite a .182 batting average from Kris Bryant and a rough start for Craig Kimbrel. Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester have both been solid in the rotation along with Darvish.
It’s hard to say who the top challenger to the Cubs will be in the division. St. Louis won it last year, but the Cardinals have played only eight games in 2020 because of the coronavirus. Milwaukee has scrambled back to .500 with those victories over Chicago.