Cubs Notes: Hendricks Continues Impressive Rookie Campaign, Bryant Visits Wrigley
Kyle Hendricks did it again.
Despite being a pitcher without prototypically dominant stuff, Hendricks is really fun to watch. He picks teams apart with his outstanding control as opposed to a blazing fastball.
Hendricks hurled seven innings and gave up only one run in the Cubs’ 3-1 win on Wednesday, sweeping the Reds out of town. He allowed seven hits (six of them singles) and — vintage Hendricks — zero walks.
Since he does not strike out a lot of batters, perhaps why Hendricks is always labeled as nothing more than a 4/5 starter, he has to rely on hitting his spots to produce weak contact from hitters. At what point will we begin believing that Hendricks can be better than that 4- or 5-starter label? Are we there already?
Bryant stops by Wrigley Field
Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant was at Wrigley Field before Wednesday’s game. No, he was not there to suit up and play third base. He was accepting his Cubs Minor League Player of the Year award, along with Jen-Ho Tseng, who won Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the organization.
He admitted it was “bittersweet” to be at Wrigley without being in uniform. You can read more of his quotes here and here.
Bryant has a certain presence to him. He showed this year he has a ton of on-field talent, but he clearly is also very mature and level-headed.
The first big-league games this year for Javier Baez and Jorge Soler were definitely exciting. But that first time Kris Bryant is penciled in to the lineup next season (most likely on the road, if the Cubs follow their pattern), that is going to be a thing.
* Anthony Rizzo was back in the lineup Wednesday. I will now allow myself to relax and cast away any bad flashbacks of towel-drill-filled delayed returns. The Cubs have said to expect an every-other-day schedule for Rizzo.
* Arismendy Alcantara did not play for the second straight game. Patrick Mooney reports Alcantara is day-to-day with a mild wrist sprain. He is hoping to be back on Thursday.
* Closer Hector Rondon issued a walk in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game before picking up his 25th save. It was only his third walk since the All-Star break. Definitely something you like to see from your closer.
* Wednesday was an off-night for Jorge Soler. And by off-night I mean he only walked twice and scored a run. It was only the second game he has not recorded a hit since being called up. Before Wednesday, Soler had a hit in 13 of his first 14 games — the first Cub to do so in 110 years, according to Mark Gonzales.
* Jake Arrieta appeared on Comcast Sportsnet’s “Sports Talk Live” program on Wednesday evening and told David Kaplan he thinks we will see more starting pitchers use a “modified windup” with less movement. This is something he uses, and he pointed toward other pitchers who have started implementing this method, including David Price and Chris Tillman. He mentioned that the less movement you have before delivering the pitch, the easier it is to repeat your delivery correctly. Interesting, but makes sense to me.