The last time the Cubs won a game, Jon Lester was on the mound and the offense scored just one run. Lester goes tonight at Busch against Lance Lynn and the Cardinals, and the Cubs could use a stopper.
- After his latest rough outing, Kyle Hendricks said that he’s still trying to get the “feel” this year, Joe Maddon mentioned a lack of sink on his two-seamer and deep counts as the primary issues, and Jed Hoyer expressed no concerns (CSN, Cubs.com). As I wrote last night, this was a start in which you couldn’t blame any kind of bad luck for the four runs Hendricks gave up – he earned them all with significant command problems, both in and out of the zone. And because, even when he was getting a surprising number of swings and misses in his earlier starts this year he was still not locating his pitches, I’m not sure we can just throw out last night’s start as a one-time thing. I think there’s still a lot to like about Hendricks long term, but a command pitcher without command is just batting practice. Hopefully the feel comes around – for some pitchers, it takes a little while – but the Cubs do have Tsuyoshi Wada stretched out at AAA Iowa in case the need arises. I certainly don’t think it’s time for anything too rash, but this is something to watch in the next couple weeks.
- According to Brooks, the vertical movement on all of Hendricks’ pitches was way down last night, for what it’s worth. That does suggest something was off with his feel last night. His velocity was normal, though.
- I liked the way the Kris Bryant-Jorge Soler lineup flip-flop worked last night. Bryant looked like Bryant, and Soler looked confident. Maybe the night off for Soler helped, too. Today, we’ll see if that sticks against a right-hander (a tough one at that, in Lance Lynn) or if it was just against the lefty.
- If Miguel Socolovich seemed vaguely familiar to you as he was holding the Cubs down the last two nights in middle relief, that’s because he used to be a Cub. He was part of the parade of forgettable arms the Cubs brought in and shuffled out during the 2012 season. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since … so of course he’s succeeding with the Cardinals now, against the Cubs, three years later. Up next for the Cardinals: Jason Berken, Jairo Asencio, and Justin Germano.
- Rian Watt remembers the 2011 team over at BP Wrigleyville. And Sahadev Sharma compares this year’s team to the last one that had a great April – the 2008 club.
- If you missed it last evening, the Cubs made a flurry of roster moves, primarily in the bullpen.
- Also, if you missed it last evening, Michael examined the problem plaguing Starlin Castro right now: so, so, so many weak groundballs.
- If you haven’t seen this yet, just remember that Anthony Rizzo is an awesome dude: