No decision for Darvish, no victory for Cubs
Yu Darvish used the word "weird" to describe his own situation.
That might be one way to describe the Chicago Cubs' 5-4 loss to the New York Mets Friday at Wrigley Field.
Other words come to mind: "sloppy," and "mistake-prone."
Any way you toss the word salad, this was clearly a game the Cubs could have and probably should have won.
"Of course," said manager Joe Maddon, whose team fell to 41-34. "We made too many mistakes. On the bases we made mistakes … too many mistakes. They didn't make the mistakes. We did, and thus, they won the game."
The Darvish situation is weird, and Friday, it was explainable. The Cubs right-hander pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 hit and 4 runs. He singled and came home on Addison Russell's fifth-inning home run to give the Cubs 4-3 lead. But Darvish allowed a game-tying homer to Michael Conforto in the sixth.
It was the second homer Darvish allowed. He gave up a 2-run shot to Jeff McNeil that put the Mets up 3-2 in the third.
Darvish now has gone 10 straight starts without getting a decision, win or lose. That extends a Cubs record, and it's the longest such streak by any starter (not including today's fashionable 1-inning "openers") since the Phillies' Randy Lerch went 10 straight in 1977.
"Not only frustrating, like weird," said Darvish, whose ERA went from 4.65 to 4.75. "I'm not losing. I'm not winning. It's just weird. I want to win."
For Maddon, Friday's weirdness was due to Darvish's inability to shut the Mets down.
"Is he setting records?" Maddon asked. "He's pitched well enough to win, and again, we have to be a little more offensive ourselves and get over the top of these situations.
"Primarily, I think once we grab a lead, he needs to hold on to it. I think that inning-after has been kind of biting him a little bit. If there's anything that I've noticed, it's the shutdown inning. We've got to get into the shutdown innings more consistently. If we're able to do that more consistently, the wins (for Darvish) will start popping up."
There were other little things nipping at the Cubs. Reliever Brad Brach uncorked a wild pitch in the seventh, and lefty Mike Montgomery later gave up a tiebreaking single to McNeil.
Albert Almora Jr. was picked off first base by the catcher to end the sixth. Anthony Rizzo, normally a good baserunner, got caught in no-man's land and was put out between second and third bases as he tried to advance on Willson Contreras' two-out single in the eighth.
"Just too much aggressiveness," Rizzo said. "It was a bad play on my part. It (stinks), but you just try to move on from this one as fast as you can.
"We had the lead a couple times, but it was a good game. We fought back and forth and came up on the short side."