Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kyle hendricks cubs featureAh, the dreaded loss before an off-day. The Cubs took two of three from the Pirates, but because the one loss was last night, today feels crummier than it would have if the games were ordered another way. That’s obviously totally silly, but it’s human nature.

With the Brewers coming to town tomorrow, hopefully the Cubs will soon give us plenty of reason to perk back up.

  • Last night wasn’t Kyle Hendricks’ best start, but Joe Maddon isn’t concerned about his performances so far ( And, indeed, there is a lot to like in Hendricks’ peripherals: despite the 5.23 ERA, Hendricks has a 3.32 FIP and 3.29 xFIP, plus an elite 57.1% groundball rate. Get this: Hendricks’ strikeout rate is 21.8%, a huge leap from last year’s 14.6%. And his walk rate, even after last night, is actually down slightly to 4.6%. His line drive rate is down from last year, too. What’s the difference this year been, then? Well, the BABIP is way up (.311, versus .271 last year) and he’s gotten really unlucky with hit sequencing (a mere 60.3% LOB rate). OK, I’ve convinced myself: Hendricks is probably fine.
  • The Cubs are relieved that the Joe Maddon investigation is behind them (, with MLB concluding yesterday that there was no tampering. It was clearly a very thorough investigation, but the Cubs were adamant all along that there would be nothing to find. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg didn’t offer much: “We make our decisions based on the facts at hand and the processes we trust. We can never be certain of the outcomes.”

  • Joe Maddon and various Cubs pitchers don’t want to see the DH come to the NL (ESPN). To be fair, if I were a pitcher in the NL, I probably wouldn’t want the DH either. For me, though, I’m just tired of seeing the two leagues have different rules … but I’ll save that for another day. I’ve already said most of what I can say.
  • I know that Kris Bryant’s dreamy eyes are a distraction for you, but are they a problem for him on the baseball diamond? That’s actually a serious question tied to light and eye color, explored here at The Hardball Times. Short version: probably not an issue.
  • Carlos Gomez could be back just in time to face the Cubs.
  • Together with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Cubs have once again offered more than $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving those in need in the Chicago area

  • The latest episode of Limited Range is out.
  • Luke checked in on the minor leagues this morning, and urges you to check out one particular pitching prospect.
  • If you missed it last night, Michael delivered a set of MLBits, with some of the more interesting/important things going on around the league.

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