It was happy hugs in the Iowa dugout last night, as Kyle Hendricks was lifted after just two innings of work. The reason? He’s going to the show. GM Jed Hoyer confirmed today that Kyle Hendricks will be getting called up to the Cubs, and will make his Major League debut this week, most likely in Cincinnati. The Cubs play a double-header on Tuesday, so that makes sense, and there was a spot on the 40-man roster created with the Samardzija/Hammel trade to Oakland.
I’ve been a fan of Hendricks for a while, and I’m super excited that he is getting his shot. Ever since he was acquired from the Texas Rangers he has pitched his tail off to get to this spot. The thing about Hendricks is he’s a pitcher, relying on command and not velocity, but something has changed this year. The command is still there (23 walks in 102.2 innings), but he has been seen touching mid 90’s on the gun, a definite spike, and something that could take him to the next level.
Best of luck, Kyle.
Two games into his Cubs career, Jason Hammel is 2-0, both wins coming against the NL Central rival Pirates. Hammel was brilliant once again, as he worked seven strong innings, giving up three runs on three hits (all solo HR’s, more on that later), while walking one, and striking out six. Pedro Strop made things interesting in the ninth as he gave up two more solo home runs to make things closer than they needed to be. The Pirates had six hits tonight, five of which left the ballpark, and the Cubs still won, baseball.
More good signs from the Cubs offense in this one as well, the Cubs scored seven times on fourteen hits in the win. (Insert Emilio Bonifacio had two hits sentence). Anthony Rizzo is scorching hot right now, he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .375 on the season. Mike Olt, finally getting a start, responded in a big way, he went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored. Same goes for Junior Lake, as he went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
** PHOTO CREDIT: BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES
Such a tough evening, on one hand you have to be thrilled with the Cubs coming back two different times in this one, on the other, throw strikes!!! The Cubs offense was up to the task tonight, but the pitching was dreadful, it started with Edwin Jackson, and ended with Pedro Strop, and James Russell.
Edwin Jackson “walked” away with a no decision in this one, and probably deserved worse. Jackson worked 4.2 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits, while walking four (yuck), and striking out four. Pedro Strop, who got the loss, worked a third of an inning, giving up one run, while walking two, and striking out one. The issue in this one was James Russell coming on and failing to do his job against Pedro Alvarez, he walked Alvarez to load the bases and Russel Martin delivered a game winning sac-fly.
Starlin Castro! What a night from Castro, he was 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored. It was Castro’s first time hitting two home runs in a major league game, it was awesome to see, Castro is now hitting .310 on the season, look at that. Emilio Bonifacio continues to get hits, almost every time up to the plate, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo is also going well at the plate right now, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
I’ll leave you with this… STOP BUNTING! Goodnight.
** PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW NELLES/AP
** Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL **
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – 7:05 PM CST
(TV: CSN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – 7:05 PM CST
(TV: WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: WGN, MLBN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
** SERIES VITALS **
** PITCHING MATCHUPS **
Morton (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 4; 4.36 ERA, 10 appearance, 10 starts)
Jackson (Career vs. Pirates) (3 – 3; 5.36 ERA, 8 appearances, 8 starts)
Rodriguez (Career vs. Cubs) (9 – 8; 3.63 ERA, 25 appearances, 25 starts)
Hammel (Career vs. Pirates) (3 – 1; 3.62 ERA, 5 appearances, 4 starts)
Cole (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 0; 2.08 ERA, 2 appearances, 2 starts)
Wood (Career vs. Pirates) (4 – 5; 3.35 ERA, 10 appearances, 9 starts)
Scoring runs in the Major Leagues is hard, it’s really hard for this Cubs group. So far the 2014 season has featured outstanding pitching and horrendous clutch hitting, today was no exception. Jeff Samardzija was solid for the second straight time this year, and for the second straight time he walked away without a win. Shark worked seven strong innings, giving up two runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out eight as he took the loss.
I can’t really say that the Cubs were totally inept with the bats because they were able to get a number off hits against Cliff Lee. Ten hits to be exact, but that’s ten hits with no runs, mind numbing right now. One bright spot today was Starlin Castro who has been having better at bats as of late, he went 3-for-4 in the loss. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position today, and are 4-for-40 on the season, I’m sorry that I had to spell out the disaster that is the Cubs offense, it will get better, it has to.
MLB.com has no Cubs highlights, seems about right.
It was a day where all you had to do was “get the ball in the air, and it would go” — the problem with that is you actually have to, you know, hit the ball. That’s the one part of the equation the Cubs haven’t figured out yet this season. Anyone that follows this team religiously, like I do, knew that scoring runs would be difficult for this group, but yikes. Today’s hard to look at numbers? Two runs on three hits, that’s it, three hits today for our boys in blue.
With the lack of scoring comes the increased pressure on the pitching to not make a mistake, because one run could be it. Travis Wood pitched just fine today given the howling out wind, but made a few too many mistakes, and took the loss. The Cubs pen was also a little ragged as well, both Wesley Wright, and Brian Schlitter gave up runs to make the final score a little more ugly. Good news friends, it’s early, I think that’s a good thing.
* Photo Credit – Andrew Nelles/AP