The Rundown: Hendricks Stops Losing Streak, Marlins On Deck, Hoyer Willing to Add Deadline Pieces, Yankees Complete Wacky Triple Play

“I say my hell is the closet I’m stuck inside can’t see the light, and my heaven is a nice house in the sky.” – Dave Matthews, So Much to Say

Instant Replay

Thank goodness for Kyle Hendricks, am I right?  The Cubs needed someone to put an end to their three-game skid and their ace was up to the challenge. Hendricks may not be having the greatest of seasons to the untrained eye, but take away his two starts against the Braves and he is one of the best starters in the National League.

  • Hendricks vs. Atlanta: 0-2, 7.2 IP, 14 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 17.50 ERA
  • Vs. the rest of baseball: 9-2, 73 IP, 23 ER, 14 BB, 60 K, 2.84 ERA

There’s also a loss to the Pirates back on May 9 he’d probably like to forget, too.

Rumors exist that Hendricks was tipping his pitches in both starts against the Braves, but, if he was, he’s certainly put a stop to that since. In last night’s 2-0 win over the Mets, the Professor was as sharp as a straight razor and as meticulous as a neurosurgeon, going six strong innings with seven punchouts against just two hits. That is the very definition of a stopper. The outing marked Hendricks’ seventh straight quality start and seventh straight win (the longest streak of his career).

The Cubs’ formula for winning is pretty obvious: Get 5-6 solid innings from their starters with timely hitting up and down the lineup, then turn it over to the bullpen to close it out. However, all three are completely dependent on each other and any single failure of that machination usually results in a loss. With Hendricks, all bets are off and he epitomized that in what may have been his best start of the season.

A two-run jack by Javier Báez (into that big, ugly apple batter’s eye no less), was all the Cubs needed offensively, and a loss by the Brewers in Colorado last night means Chicago will kick off a five-game homestand against the Marlins and Indians with sole possession of first place in the NL Central. The trip to New York was far less than successful with a 1-3 record and some really ugly baseball, but all things considered, the team’s flag flying atop the centerfield scoreboard tonight is all that really matters.

  • The Good: Hendricks was locked in and lights out and any other sports euphemism for dominant that you can come up with.
  • The Bad: None of the four runners that actually made it to scoring position scored last night. In fact, only 15 runners made it as far as 2nd base all series.
  • The Ugly: The Cubs managed just four hits last night, and finished the four-game set with a team batting average of .138 (17-for-123).

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

An apple a day keeps the losses away.

Climbing the Ladder

“To change the world start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all.” – Dave Matthews, You Might Die Trying

  • Games Played: 69
  • Total Plate Appearances: 2,532
  • Total Strikeouts: 656
  • Strikeout Rate: 25.9%
  • Team Batting Average: .229

Wrigley Field should be a nice respite for a team that is really struggling offensively. Moreover, the team could really use a healthy Matt Duffy and Nico Hoerner.

Apropos of Nothing

The top three venues to see live music in this country are Red Rocks, The Gorge, and Alpine Valley. The best stadium to watch a ballgame is Wrigley Field and I’ll be at the game on Sunday for my first trip to the Friendly Confines in nearly three years.

Apropos of Nothing II

The response to the team’s City Connect jerseys was lukewarm at best, but I hope to pick one up on Sunday. I really love the “Casey at the Bat” motif, if you must know. I wish I could afford the hefty $475 price tag for an authentic, but that’s impossible and I’ll probably max out my credit card just buying the replica.

How About That!

Closer Richard Rodríguez of the Pirates may be the best trade chip available at this year’s deadline.

It doesn’t make any sense, nor does it have to, but the Giants are the best team in baseball right now.

Add Roy Oswalt to the list of former players who think pitchers should stop crying about the new foreign substance rule.

Ronald Acuña Jr. is having the best season of his career while the rest of his teammates have actually regressed.

Baseball’s newest and strangest curse is following a no-hitter on the road with a club-record road losing streak.

The Yankees completed a 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play yesterday, the game’s first ever, and it was a sight to behold!

Please allow yourself a moment of silence today on the 18th anniversary of Milwaukee’s fallen sausage. At least Randall Simon has lifelong notoriety.

Cleveland’s mascot, Slider, was named the worst among all MLB teams. Interestingly enough, the Brewers’ racing sausages are all tied for wurst.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Kyle Hendricks – He came up big when he was supposed to and most needed, which makes him the team’s ace and stopper.
  2. Randy Arozorena – The Rays outfielder had a nifty night, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a stolen base, two runs, and two RBI.
  3. Curt Casali – The San Francisco backstop had three hits and finished a double shy of the cycle, plated four runs, and hit his first big fly of the year as the Giants extended Arizona’s MLB record road losing streak to 23 games with a 10-3 win over the Diamondbacks.

Extra Innings

Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson were definitely the greatest show on earth back in 1977.

Low and Away

The Bears may have a new stadium in Arlington Heights (eventually), and I’ll have a column over at Bears Insider this weekend regarding that news. Now that I’m a little more mobile, I’ll resume a daily over there starting Monday morning.

They Said It

  • “[Hendricks] is the backbone of our rotation. It’s starting to be that ‘Win Day’ where you feel like… you got a really good chance to win when he pitches. Probably not the sharpest we’ve seen him and he doesn’t even give up any runs. Nice, gutsy performance by Kyle there. We needed that.”David Ross
  • “I knew I would come out of [the April struggles]. I’m generally a slow starter. That was the worst I’ve ever had, obviously. But I know for me, once it clicks and it hits, then it’s there. I knew it was going to come; it was just a matter of time. Just had to work on different things until I got that feeling and then it really did set in. I felt it one day and have been able to carry it really ever since. There’s still more in there, just gotta be more consistent with the mental aspect.”Kyle Hendricks
  • “We’re putting ourselves in a great position. Obviously, we’re not going to stand pat. We want to continue to add to this team. We’re gonna keep playing well, I believe, and we’ll add to this team.” – Jed Hoyer

Friday Walk-Up Song

Every Day by the Dave Matthews Band featuring Vusi Mahlasela (Live) – I’m excited that I am finally going to Wrigley Field on Sunday, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a favorite live jam. Three years has been far too long.

Back to top button