Darvish's Cubs debut: 5 runs in 4 1/3

April 1st, 2018

MIAMI -- After a 17-inning marathon game on Friday night, manager Joe Maddon was hoping for at least six innings from 's Cubs debut on Saturday at Marlins Park. The right-hander showed flashes of dominance, but the club's top offseason prize came up a little short.

Darvish was pulled after 4 1/3 innings in the Cubs' 10-6 win in 10 innings vs. the Marlins, giving up five runs on five hits.

"He missed with his location with his fastball a lot," Cubs catcher said. "I think he was too amped up. ... He made a lot of mistakes with his pitches."

This was Darvish's first regular-season start since signing a six-year, $126 million contract in February. With his arrival, the Cubs have three pitchers in the rotation who made Opening Day starts in 2017 -- , (White Sox) and Darvish (Rangers).

Cubs fans at Marlins Park greeted Darvish with a chorus of "Yuuuu" as he took the mound for the first inning.

He hit the first batter he faced, , then served up 's first home run of the season, off an 84.6-mph slider. Darvish recorded his first strikeout when he got to swing and miss at a cutter to open the third, then fanned Brinson on another cutter. Darvish then hit Dietrich with a pitch but struck out the side when he got swinging on a slider.

"Overall, I don't think it was too bad," Darvish said of his outing through his interpreter. "They made me throw more pitches than I expected, so the rhythm got inconsistent there."

In Spring Training, the stadium radar guns showed Darvish hitting 96 mph and up. That wasn't the case on Saturday.

"Looking at everyone else, it seems their velocity is lower than what it was in Spring Training," Darvish said. "[The radar guns] might be different from stadium to stadium, and that might be one of the factors."

Was he nervous?

"No nerves," Darvish said. "I was out there, feeling comfortable, but it seems like every time I pitched the first game in Japan, things didn't go so well. I don't know why that happens. Today, everything was fine. No nerves."

The Marlins' led off the next half-inning with a single that ricocheted off Darvish's right foot, and the Cubs' starter then walked on four pitches to prompt a visit from pitching coach Jim Hickey. Pinch-hitter singled to load the bases, and Brinson blooped a single to center to pull the Marlins within, 5-3.

Darvish's first pitch to Castro was high, and Maddon and athletic trainer PJ Mainville went out to check on the right-hander because they thought he was experiencing some cramping in his forearm. Darvish said he was fine, stayed in the game, and then Castro hit a two-run single on his 102nd pitch to end his outing with the game tied, 5-5. got on a groundout to second and on a flyout to right, stranding Castro and ensuring Darvish's Cubs debut would go down as a no-decision.

"It could've been more of a location problem of my pitches," Darvish said. "I don't think I was able to command where I wanted to throughout the game with my fastball."

Said Maddon: "He wasn't really sharp overall. A lot of pitches for 4 1/3. He showed glimpses where the command was good. His fastball command was off a little. I would say, overall, he didn't have his best stuff tonight."