kyle hendricks cubs featureHow come they don’t do those David Blaine magic specials anymore? Those were fun.

  • I won’t claim to be immune to the influence of good results on my opinion of how a guy performed – it can be very hard to separate those things, because your brain does all kinds of maneuvering behind the scenes – but I think it looked like Kyle Hendricks pitched very well last night. That is to say, his obviously excellent results were not merely the product of good bounces and a brutal Mets lineup. Joe Maddon also pulled him at the right time, in my opinion, as the command seemed to be softening just a bit.

  • One thing I found particularly notable was a third inning strikeout of Ruben Tejada on what looked like a pure, rear-back-and-throw it four-seamer with almost no movement. The TV gun registered it at 92mph, which immediately jumped out at me, since Hendricks usually uses his two-seamer (sinker) as his baseline, right around 88/89mph. Turns out that was just one of four four-seamers Hendricks threw – it was the hardest, and was actually a touch over 93mph, according to Brooks. He averaged just over 92mph on those four fastballs. That’s the hardest Hendricks has thrown his fastball in his big league career, and actually continues an upward trend for his occasionally-used four-seamer, which has been climbing steadily from 89mph last year to a little over 91mph this June. If he can do that from time to time in-game, given the command and movement on his other pitches, it will almost function like a reverse-changeup for him.

  • Maybe it was the magician Joe Maddon hired to perform for the Cubs before the game ( That might also explain Starlin Castro walking twice in the game after walking just twice previously in the entire month of June.
  • Maddon added, with respect to the Cubs’ current offensive funk, “Chill, man.” (CSN) There’s so much youth that is still developing – this is just part of the equation. Hopefully a breakout is just around the corner – the Cubs’ two wins that bookended their recent offensively-challenged five-game losing streak were both 1-0 affairs. You can’t count on a lot of those, no matter how strong your pitching.
  • Jorge Soler was hitless again last night in his second Iowa Cubs rehab game, but he still feels good (ankle), and that’s the most important thing. The timing, as you’d expect from a guy who missed a month, is an issue:

  • The Cardinals have lost a reliever, but replaced him with a former Cubs farmhand who will undoubtedly now break out:

  • Just look at Hatley’s numbers in the minors – first with the Cubs, then with the Cardinals (peripherals then ERA) – and tell me Cardinals Voodoo Magic isn’t real. His individual performance was much better with the Cubs, but his results have been over-the-top good with the Cardinals.
  • If you’ve been waiting to try out DraftKings’ one-day fantasy baseball contests, there’s one tonight with $10,000 on the line. It’s free to play if you make your first deposit (and they’ll match your deposit with bonus money), and it makes the day of baseball just a little more exciting. For the record, I am up for the year! … by $1, but still. Up is up.

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