CHICAGO (TNS) — Manager Joe Maddon couldn't skirt the raw truth Wednesday after witnessing another short outing from Yu Darvish, combined with shoddy defense and punchless offense.
"That game belongs in Lake Michigan with some cement shoes tied around it," Maddon said after the Rockies humbled the Cubs in an 11-2 loss. "That was awful. That was right out of the Roaring '20s. Throw it away. I'm going to throw it out in my '85 Oldsmobile driving back down Lake Shore (Drive)."
Despite the debacle, the Cubs finished their homestand 5-2 even though their dormant offense has scored three runs or fewer in eight straight games.
On Wednesday, the disturbing trend of Darvish failing to go deep into a game persisted as the prized free agent didn't pitch at least five innings for the fourth time in six starts. The only consolation was that Thursday's off day will allow the bullpen to recharge some after Brian Duensing made his 14th appearance, fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery pitched 2 1/3 innings in his first appearance since April 25 and Luke Farrell threw 44 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.
But Darvish's performance has to be of concern as he allowed convincing home runs to Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Chris Iannetta, with the latter's homer prompting fans to boo Darvish before Maddon pulled him after he had given up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with 86 pitches in 4 1/3 innings.
"Bad rhythm," said Darvish, whose ERA swelled to 6.00 with 31 hits and 16 walks allowed in 30 innings. "Things didn't go well."
Maddon visited the mound after Darvish allowed his third walk to Iannetta in the third, but he merely wanted to set up a defensive play. There was no recourse, however, after Iannetta ripped a 2-2 pitch 429 feet into the bleachers in right-center field.
"We just have to keep working through it, and keep everyone on the same page." Maddon said. "Physically, he looks great. It's just the execution of the pitch we have to firm up."
Ben Zobrist says he still has faith in Darvish, whom the Cubs signed to a six-year, $126 million contract last February.
"We just trust the process as it goes for him will continue to get better," Zobrist said. "One month is one month, and everyone can struggle for one month. He will find his groove, and we won't be talking about it anymore."
But the defense also needs some solidifying. The clumsy miscues the Cubs overcame Monday in a 3-2 victory resurfaced and contributed to Darvish's miseries. Catcher Willson Contreras' throwing error in the second led to a run, and Darvish was late in covering first on a David Dahl grounder to first though it didn't contribute to a run.
A similar mixup between first baseman Anthony Rizzo and reliever Luke Farrell occurred in the ninth, but that didn't hurt the Cubs as badly as Contreras, playing left field, allowing a Gerardo Parra single to skip past him for a two-base error during the five-run eighth.
"One thing we didn't do is play our typical defense over the last several games," Maddon said. "In spite of us not hitting, I just want to see us pitch and play defense. The defense has to tighten up."
Right fielder Jason Heyward had a terse reply when asked if he agreed there was a silver lining in the winning homestand despite it ending with two losses.
"You guys go way too high and way too low," Heyward said.