That seven-game winning streak was fun, but it sure didn’t seem to intimidate the San Francisco Giants this weekend. Coming off of three consecutive series wins for the first time since the trade deadline, the Cubs ran into a bit of a buzzsaw in a Giants team that has now won eight straight and just became the first team in MLB to clinch a playoff berth.
But since all most of you really care about at this point is how the players who figure to be a part of the 2022 Cubs did, let’s take a look at some of them.
Kyle Hendricks: Mired in the worst season of his career so far, Hendricks could really use a nice stretch to close out the season and get some momentum going for next year. Thankfully for him and for the Cubs, he got just that in Friday’s opener against Kris Bryant‘s San Francisco Giants.
Hendricks gave up only one run over six innings in what ended up being a losing effort. For a guy that hadn’t given up fewer than four earned runs over any of his three previous starts, it was a badly needed effort that could get him back on track.
The Frank Schwindel Show: Another week, another appearance in this column for Schwindel. He’s no longer “trending up” because at some point, just hitting .400 is no longer an improvement over past performance.
Schwindel is hitting .407/467/.667 over his last seven games and hasn’t shown any signs at all of slowing down. It’s hard not to be at least a little bit intrigued to see what he and Alfonso Rivas could do at first base next season.
I miss Anthony Rizzo as much as I’ve missed just about anything in my life, but his overall production was falling short of what we grew accustomed to throughout most of his Cubs career. With that in mind, you can at least understand why the Cubs might be inclined to see what they’ve got in this pair of first basemen. All other context aside, sub .800 OPS first baseman do, more or less, grow on trees.
Patrick Wisdom: The former Cardinal has been able to find success this season despite a strikeout rate that would make Javy Báez blush. Even with that K-rate in the neighborhood of 40%, Wisdom had been consistently hitting the ball very hard while not chasing pitches out of the zone.
Though that formula had worked well for a time, the Rookie of the Year candidate has run into major roadblocks of late. Over his last seven games, Wisdom has hit .130/.200/.217 with 11 strikeouts in 23 at-bats. Yowza.
Things get a little better if you zoom out: He’s slashed .170/.254/.472 over his last 15 with four home runs mixed in. The strikeouts and average have been an issue for a while, but the total power outage is new. Even with these struggles, it’s reasonable to think Wisdom has done enough this season to earn the right to be thought of as the Cubs’ presumptive starter at third base next year.
For the Cubs and for Wisdom, it sure would be nice to generate some positive momentum in the form of a season-ending hot stretch. There’s not much time left to do it, but here’s hoping.