Darvish has been nails this season, carrying over from his stellar finish to 2019. In his last 13 starts last season, he had a 2.76 ERA with 118 strikeouts against only seven walks in 81 2/3 innings. Through four starts this season, he's 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 27 strikeouts against four walks in 24 innings. It's possible he's right now the frontrunner for the NL Cy Young.
Not that Darvish is alone on the Cubs. The rotation now has an ERA of 2.55 and their record -- thanks to lots of early leads and going deep into games -- is 13-3. The only game in which the Cubs' rotation didn't factor in the decision was an extra-innings walk-off win over the Pirates. That's it.
Speaking of those early leads, the Cubs have taken the lead first in 11 of their 16 games and the offense constantly just gradually tacks on throughout the game. Take Thursday's game. The Cubs scored a run in the first. And the second. Then tacked on two for some breathing room in the sixth. It's been the formula. The previous game in Cleveland they scored one in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth, one in the eighth and one in the ninth. The night before that it was one in the second, five in the sixth and one in the seventh. Tack on, tack on, tack on. Rinse, repeat.
The bullpen was shaky several times early -- specifically Craig Kimbrel, but others have melted down -- but new manager David Ross seems to have found some reliable relievers in Rowan Wick (who got the save on Thursday), Jeremy Jeffress and Casey Sadler. Colin Rea threw three scoreless innings on Wednesday and Ryan Tepera has had three straight scoreless outings. Things are sorting out.
Add all of it together and the Cubs are 13-3, flexing their muscles with the best record in baseball.
It's their best start since 1907. For real. In 2016 when they were the best team in baseball wire-to-wire and started 25-6, their record through 16 games was 12-4. If they keep playing like this, it's possible they'll have a similar finish to 2016.