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.
FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014, 2:20 PM ET [WRIGLEY FIELD]
CINCINNATI REDS (6-9) @ CHICAGO CUBS (4-10)
TV: [CIN] FS-O, MLBN [CHC] WGN, MLBN
Shark’s last outing in St. Louis
Alfredo Simon’s last outing at home against Tampa Bay
Nate Schierholtz is hitting .333 in his last five games, with three doubles, and two RBI’s
Joey Votto is heating up, he is hitting .450 in his last six games with four home runs, and eight RBI’s
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.
— Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL —
Friday, April 4, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: MLBN, WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Saturday, April 5, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: CSN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Sunday, April 6, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
— Series Vitals —
— Pitching Matchups —
Hernandez (Career vs. Cubs) (4 – 0; 1.95 ERA, 7 appearance, 7 starts)
Wood (Career vs. Phillies) (0 – 0; 2.11 ERA, 3 appearances, 3 starts)
Lee (Career vs. Cubs) (6 – 2; 3.19 ERA, 10 appearances, 10 starts)
Samardzija (Career vs. Phillies) (1 – 3; 10.80 ERA, 9 appearances, 3 starts)
Burnett (Career vs. Cubs) (7 – 2; 2.99 ERA, 11 appearances, 11 starts)
Villanueva (Career vs. Phillies) (2 – 0; 1.71 ERA, 14 appearances, 1 start)
Let’s go Cubs!
The Cubs did some good things today, getting hits with runners in scoring position was not one of them. But about those good things, the Cubs pitching was stellar, and their defense was just as good. Jeff Samardzija loves facing the Pirates, especially in Pittsburgh, one year after going eight scoreless against the Buccos, he went seven scoreless but settled for a no decision. Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, and James Russell all did their job out of the bullpen, Carlos Villanueva, not so much. Villanueva faced one batter, and that was it, Neil Walker blasted a walk-off home run to move the Cubs to 0-1 on the young season.
The Cubs struggles were front and center at the plate as they went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, yikes. They also struck out a lot, eleven times to be exact as they were baffled by Francisco Liriano all day long. I did like the Cubs approach today though, as they worked deep counts and were able to get to the Pirates pen by the 7th inning, it just didn’t work out. Emilio Bonifacio had a big day at the plate in his debut as he went 4-for-5 with a double, the Cubs as a whole only had six hits in the loss.
* Photo credit: GENE PUSKAR/AP
Monday, March 31, 2014 – 12:05 PM CST
(TV: ESPN, WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 – 6:05 PM CST
(TV: CSN+) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Thursday, April 3, 2014 – 11:35 AM CST
(TV: MLBN, CSN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
— Series Vitals —
— Pitching Matchups —
Samardzija (Career vs. Pirates) (4 – 3; 2.11 ERA, 18 appearances, 7 starts)
Liriano (Career vs. Cubs) (3 – 2; 2.72 ERA, 6 appearances, 6 starts)
Jackson (Career vs. Pirates) (6 – 2; 3.19 ERA, 10 appearances, 10 starts)
Morton (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 4; 4.91 ERA, 9 appearances, 9 starts)
Hammel (Career vs. Pirates) (2 – 1; 4.35 ERA, 4 appearances, 3 starts)
Rodriguez (Career vs. Cubs) (9 – 7; 3.60 ERA, 24 appearances, 24 starts)
— Weather —
Today, the Cubs announced that Jeff Samardzija will open the season in Pittsburgh, as he did in 2013. Rick Renteria said it was an easy decision to make, and I would have to agree, Shark is the top guy while he is here with this group. I’m not sure Travis Wood was given any consideration, but wouldn’t be surprised if he was given his stellar 2013. Wood will follow Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson will pitch game three in Pittsburgh, just a short 17 days away.
Yeah, slop-fest. I wasn’t quite sure how to spell that in the title, but it seemed appropriate given that this was, indeed, a slop-fest. The Cubs only had one error on the day, but the Rockies really messed things up and had five, yet still won the game. But the news of the day, as it is almost every day, is Javier Baez showing off his unfathomable power, everyone is really excited.
At the Plate:
- Josh Vitters, hello. Vitters entered the game in the sixth and ended the day going 2-for-2 with a run scored, and a dropped fly ball, filling up the score sheet.
- Javier Baez (!), Baez went 1-for-3 with his second home run of the spring season, an opposite field shot which continued to fuel the inter-webs desire for him to start with the Cubs… sorry, won’t happen, hooray team control!
- George Kottaras has the backup catching spot locked down in my opinion, not only because we share the first name. Kottaras was 1-for-2 with his first home run of the season, which immediately followed Baez’s shot.
On the Mound:
- Jeff Samardzija got the start today and was roughed up a bit, but was able to escape with a no decision. Shark went three innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Jose Veras, the new Cubs closer, worked a scoreless inning, which was a nice rebound after his not so great debut.
- Pedro Strop also worked a scoreless inning, and didn’t walk or strikeout anyone, madness.
- Chris Rusin was having a pretty solid outing until he lost command in the fateful seventh inning. Rusin worked 2.2 innings giving up three runs on three hits while walking two, and striking out one.
- Armando Rivero continues his push to make the Cubs bullpen with another solid outing, but he did have some trouble to work out of. Rivero worked a scoreless inning giving up three hits while striking out one.
Thanks to Brett at Bleacher Nation for the video
The Cubs go for their third straight win this afternoon as they take on the Rockies at Cubs Park in Mesa. Jeff Samardzija will make his second start of the spring looking to build on his strong debut from last week, expect three to four innings for Shark.
1. Kalish – LF
2. Valbuena – 3B
3. Lake – CF
4. Roberts – 1B
5. Baez – SS
6. Kottaras – C
7. Jackson – RF
8. Valaika – 2B
9. McDonald – DH
SP – Samardzija
The Cubs bench looks a little more exciting than the lineup:
No TV today, but there it MLB.com radio.