Yu Darvish’s name was announced at Petco Park to begin the bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon, and “Intoxicated,” a popular house song by Martin Solveig and GTA, flips over the speakers.
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who famously uses that song as his walk-up music, threw his arms up in the air in mock disgust. Darvish, the former Cubs starter in his first season with the San Diego Padres, cracked a big smile as he approached the battery box.
Darvish, who started his first start against the Cubs since an offseason trade, did not troll Rizzo.
He paid tribute.
“I used that song because it was Rizzo who kind of took care of me when things didn’t really work out my way in Chicago,” Darvish said through his interpreter after Padres’ 3-1 loss. “It was kind of like saying ‘thank you’ to him. And of course I have a good relationship with him.”
Darvish continued his remarkable season in the rematch against his former team, allowing just two runs over seven innings to put his ERA at 2.28 through his first 13 starts with his new team. But the Padres, who have been fighting collectively offensively in recent weeks, lost for the 10th time in their last 17 games.
Darvish, 34, finished second in the National League Cy Young Award poll last year and has been among the game’s best pitchers since the start of the 2020 season, going 14-5 with a 2.15 ERA, 185 strikeouts and just 33 times in 155 innings.
Darvish’s time with the Cubs got off to a tough start. He joined them on a six-year, $ 126 million six-year contract in February 2018 and was limited to just eight starts that season. But he turned it around in 2019 and sent a 3.98 ERA in 178 2/3 innings, then reached another level in the pandemic shortened season.
“Looking back, I had some ups and downs in Chicago,” Darvish said. “Good times and bad times, in hindsight. But what I find is that the fans, the organization and even the media members there – I had a huge support to get through my years there. So there is a sense of, I think , Gratitude there. “