Maddon: Darvish's start 'a perfect example of stretching one's mind'
The oddity of Yu Darvish's start in Saturday's 8-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds was still a topic of discussion Sunday.
Darvish had a line of 7 innings pitched with 12 hits and 6 earned runs. (He also threw a Cubs season-high 82 strikes among 108 total pitches.)
Pitchers in today's game rarely are around long enough to put up that kind of line. But Maddon needed length out of Darvish because several relievers were not available.
"I thought about that during the game," Maddon said of Darvish's line. "You might see it back in the day in the '60s and in the early '70s, maybe, a pitcher that had gone that many innings, given up that many hits and runs and still was in the ballgame. It doesn't happen.
"I did focus on that. It was kind of interesting Obviously, (Saturday) was based on need. But give Yu credit, because if he doesn't do that, we don't win that game because we didn't have enough to cover (the innings)."
Darvish also had a non-quality start of at least 7 innings. The last time that happened was Sept. 16, 2016, when John Lackey went 7 innings and gave up earned 4 runs. On July 17, 2016, Lackey pitched 8 innings and gave up 4 earned runs. A quality start is at least 6 innings and more than 3 earned runs allowed.
The last Cubs line similar to Darvish's was by Carlos Zambrano. On Aug. 14, 2007, he pitched 7 innings and gave up 13 hits and 6 earned runs.
It was the longest start by Darvish as a Cub, and Maddon said he believes it will benefit the pitcher.
"That's a perfect example of stretching one's mind," the manager said. "I think that as he moves forward after that game, he knows he can do it. He's done it in the past, but it's been awhile. So now it's been reaffirmed that, 'I can do that.' I think that can be a positive moment for him moving down the road."
Bouncing off to Houston:
The Cubs left after the game for Houston, where they will begin a big three-game series against the American League West leaders. After that, they head to St. Louis for the weekend.
"Excited," Joe Maddon said. "I love the whole week. Look at the schedule. Pretty firm, and it continues to be firm. And that's the way it should be. I'm looking forward to it. They (the Astros) are good. I think we're good. American League games, so we have one less guy to worry about (without the pitcher batting).
"As this thing moves forward, I'm jacked up about all this stuff. I'm having a good time."
It's also a themed road trip. Players and staff wore basketball jerseys. Kyle Schwarber had an Indiana University jersey and striped warmup pants.
As far as Maddon: "I've got Mr. Maravich, I got Pistol (Pete). Mid-70s Atlanta Hawks. Mr. Maravich, from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. LSU. If you ever watch any old videos of him ballhandling, it's purely incredible stuff. It's tragic the way he passed. But one of the more interesting basketball players ever. The stuff he could do on the court was unparalleled."