The 37-25 Chicago Cubs recently suffered a blow when two key members of the pitching staff, SP Yu Darvish and RP Carl Edwards, Jr., were placed on the disabled list, which I discussed in a prior post. After failing to retake first place in the NL Central by losing 7-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, the Cubs will be eagerly awaiting these players’ return in order to continue making their move towards first place and a playoff spot.
However, it does not appear Darvish will be returning soon, as when asked if Darvish was expected to return before the All-Star Break, Cubs manager Joe Maddon stated the Japanese star was improving but he was unsure if the pitcher would be returning during the first half of the season. I feel Maddon is trying to keep expectations low and avoid the feeding frenzy that would ensue if Darvish were unable to return by a date quoted by Maddon or other front office personnel. In any event, it is best not to rush the four-time All-Star back before he is feeling 100 percent and ready to pitch.
In the meantime, RP Carl Edwards, Jr. is undergoing a strengthening program and improving, according to Maddon, but an expected date for his return has not been set. Cubs RP Justin Wilson, who notably struggled with command after being acquired by the Cubs in 2017, has done a fine job taking over the late-inning setup role, with no runs allowed during the month of June. So far this season, Wilson is 1-1 with a 2.36 ERA, which is under his career average of 3.23.
The Cubs will have another shot at taking over first place in the NL Central with a three-game road series in Milwaukee starting at 8:10 PM ET (Tickets – SeatGeek).