When you want to know how a pitcher is really doing, the person you talk to his catcher. So when Chicago Cubs catcher Chris Gimenez spoke to Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, it wasn’t surprising that he had insight into pitcher Yu Darvish and how he’s been dealing with pitching — or not pitching — in a city with vociferously passionate fans.
But what was surprising was Darvish’s mindset. According to Gimenez, Darvish thinks Cubs fans aren’t happy with him.
“I think he thinks that Chicago hates him for going on the DL a couple of times … He reads Twitter. He reads all that stuff. We all do. Honestly, I know it upsets him — and rightfully so.”
Yikes. Darvish has been in Chicago for just a few months, and he’s already convinced that Cubs fans hate him.
Darvish’s two stints on the disabled list have been for markedly different things. The first time was in early May, when Darvish contracted the flu and needed time to recover. He made just two starts after he was reinstated and was put back on the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis. Darvish also didn’t start the season pitching very well — he had an ERA of 6.00 after six starts, and four times failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning. In all, he’s only made eight starts and is carrying a 4.95 ERA and a career-high walk rate.
It’s tough when a newly-signed and expensive pitcher starts his tenure with the team with bad pitching and two stints on the disabled list. And fans obviously have expectations of Darvish, just like Darvish has of himself. He can’t control when he goes on the disabled list, but paired with his less-than-great pitching, Darvish hasn’t been making anyone happy thus far.
Gimenez knows that these problems, and Darvish’s feelings, are most likely temporary. Darvish is a much better pitcher than he’s been showing, and once he’s healthy he’ll get a chance to prove it. In the meantime, Gimenez told the Sun-Times that he wants Darvish to focus on the future.
“I’ve tried to portray to him, ‘Listen, they’re going to love you when we get to October and we’re doing the things that we all want to do here, you’re the main reason we’re doing it and we’re riding you all the way through it. So don’t worry about them getting mad at you on Twitter in May. Worry about when we get to September, October and they’re chanting your name.’”
Gimenez is confident that Darvish will get past the issues he’s experiencing. It’ll just take time and perseverance. Not just from Darvish, but from Cubs fans as well.
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