Dave Roberts: Yu Darvish 'Puts A Lot Of Pressure On Himself'

A former Dodger, Darvish is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA with the Cubs.

Chris Emma
June 18, 2018 - 6:29 pm
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish

Jim Young/USA TODAY Sports

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By Chris Emma--

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sat back in the visiting dugout at Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon and reflected on a National League Championship Series that his team won against the Cubs in five games last fall.

Roberts could recall the heroics of third baseman Justin Turner, the celebration in a small room between the dugout and clubhouse and all the excitement that was felt, but he admitted he was a bit foggy on other details from the Dodgers' last trip to Wrigley.

In particular, Roberts said he was blanking out on Game 3 of that NLCS, when the Dodgers were led to victory by 6 2/3 innings of one-run baseball by right-hander Yu Darvish, whose 2017 postseason is better remembered for a poor performance against the Astros in the World Series, specifically in a Game 7 loss.

Darvish is now a Cub, signed to a six-year, $126-million deal in February. Thus far, it has been a tough tenure in Chicago, with Darvish sitting at 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA and on the disabled list for the second time this season, this time with inflammation in his right triceps.

"I think he's happy here," Roberts said of Darvish. "I don't know how well he's been received. But Darvish, he'll be fine."

Roberts did in fact seem to know how Darvish has been received -- poorly -- amid his disappointing start. Darvish has been widely criticized by fans and media alike as the lucrative contract brought along high expectations. 

Darvish has gone six innings in just three of his eight starts, and Wrigley Field brought booed him as he left the mound after a poor outing against the Rockies in early May. Veteran catcher Chris Gimenez, a teammate of Darvish in Texas, told the Sun-Times weeks ago that Darvish feels Cubs fans hate him, something Darvish himself has since downplayed.

Is Roberts surprised by struggles of Darvish amid high hopes?

"Darvish is a guy that puts a lot of pressure on himself," Roberts said. "He's a pleaser. He wants to do well. The new contract, coming to a new environment and not starting off well and hearing the criticisms, I'm sure it affected him. 

"Really good competitor. It's not easy. It's a big boy league and (when) you sign a contract like that, there's going to be expectations."

Darvish is expected to be on the disabled list until the All-Star Game. The Cubs have managed fine without him thanks to Mike Montgomery, who's 2-1 with a 1.14 ERA in his four starts replacing Darvish.

The Cubs are 40-28 entering Monday, which brings the start of a three-game set with the Dodgers, who are 37-33 and have experienced several injuries to their rotation already this season.

After meeting in the previous two NLCS, the Cubs and Dodgers could be on course to meet again this October.

"Us two teams really match up well," Roberts said. "We have a lot of good history recently. It just seems like every game, whether it's regular season -- which always seems like a playoff environment; us two competing against each other -- or in the postseason, games could go either way. We've played each other pretty close."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.