The five-time All-Star was one of the biggest additions of the offseason for San Diego, and Padres fans were thrilled when he joined the team.
After all, he finished second in Cy Young voting in 2020.
Who wouldn’t want a player like that?
Darvish’s first few months with the Padres were fantastic.
He pitched like the ace San Diego thought it was getting, and it looked like the the two sides were a match made in heaven.
But over the past couple of months, the wheels have fallen off the wagon.
Darvish hasn’t produced serviceable results since the end of June, and the Padres need that to change in a hurry.
Here’s everything you need to know about his recent struggles.
He’s Seemingly Running Out Of Gas As The Season Winds Down
As mentioned, Darvish started the year strong.
In fact, he was one of the best arms in the NL over the first few months of the season.
He pitched to a 2.44 ERA, .194 opponent average, and .599 opponent OPS over his first 16 starts.
The 35-year-old even earned an All-Star selection of his career in the early stages of the summer.
But once the calendar turned to July, everything changed for the righty.
Over his last nine starts, he has an ugly 7.57 ERA.
During that span, he has allowed 13 home runs and has pitched to an opponent OPS of .895.
Darvish has lost seven consecutive decisions, and the Padres are just 2-7 in his last nine outings.
He has registered merely one quality start since the beginning of July.
Yu Darvish entered July with a 2.44 ERA. It's now at 4.05 after he got chased in the third inning by the D-backs today. 7.57 ERA over his last nine starts.
— Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer) September 1, 2021
That’s a lot of information to take in, but here’s all you need to know: He hasn’t been effective in two full months.
He’s not giving the Padres a chance to win ballgames right now, and that’s a recipe for disaster for a team struggling to stay alive in the playoff race.
Injuries Have Interrupted His Rhythm
Health hasn’t been on Darvish’s side this season.
He has hit the injured list twice this year.
In July, he missed time due to left hip inflammation.
In August, he was on the shelf for a couple of weeks with a back issue.
He’s back with the team now, but it’s probably fair to assume that his IL stints have played a role in his recent struggles.
Yu Darvish with another poor start. Is he healthy?
— SeanAddis (he/him) (@Sean_Addis) September 2, 2021
Even if he’s healthy currently, rhythm is very important to starting pitchers.
His IL stints definitely threw a wrench into that.
He Has Struggled Away From Home
Darvish’s home/road splits are night and day.
He has made 15 starts at Petco Park this season, and in those games, he has managed a 3.30 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.
Those are some fantastic numbers.
However, in 10 starts away from Petco Park, he has been shelled to the tune of a 5.40 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.
That’s a world of a difference.
Petco Park is a pitcher-friendly stadium, but it’s hard to believe that it could make such a drastic difference for a longtime ace like Darvish.
This seems like more of a mental barrier than anything else for the veteran.