Lots of bullpen notes and thoughts forthcoming, so I’m going to separate those out into another post.
- With the game playing out as it did, it would be easy to lose sight of just how dominant Kyle Hendricks was (you can watch highlights here). The first six outs hit got in the game came via the strikeout, and he wound up striking out 12 in his 7.0 innings of work. Hendricks netted 21(!) whiffs on the day, which is absolutely enormous. Although he gave up a couple homers, he basically held serve with his ERA (it bumped from 2.17 to 2.19), and raised his strikeout rate from 21.2% (right about league average, which is 21.0%) to 22.3%. His FIP is down to 3.38, which is 14th best in baseball (keeping in mind that FIP – fielding independent pitching – would give Hendricks no credit for being the best pitcher in baseball at limiting hard contact and inducing weak contact). There’s just nothing here but positives for Hendricks, who has been the Cubs’ best pitcher this year (which is saying a whole lot).
- Speaking of one of those homers – the one by Jedd Gyorko – that was his 10th since July 18, most in baseball (Cubs.com). Which. Like. Wut? Also, the Randal Grichuk grand slam that shut the door on the game? That was his 14th of the year, but his 4th against the Cubs, against whom he’s hitting .345/.367/.828 this year (despite terrible numbers against everyone else). Which. Like. Wut?
- One more on Hendricks: he’s now just the 4th Cubs starter in the last 30 years to allow 3 or fewer earned runs in 15 straight starts (Tribune). I bet I can name one of the other four, and it was really recent (Jake Arrieta’s streak actually reached an unthinkable 29 straight games between last year and this year). (Also, I did a quick check on Greg Maddux’s Cy Young season in 1992 – he had a streak like that … of 14 games.)
- Hey, so Alex Reyes and Luke Weaver look like they could be pretty good for the Cardinals for a long time, eh?
- We’ll get into it more and more as September approaches, but have you noticed just how banged up and/or struggling the other National League contenders are? It’s not just the Cubs. The Dodgers’ rotation is a mess. The Giants’ outfield is meh. The Cardinals have a bunch of injuries. The Pirates kinda sold off. The Nationals have a broken Bryce Harper. The Marlins’ rotation is a nightmare after Jose Fernandez (who is already having starts skipped to limit innings).
- Josh Collmenter, whom the Cubs signed very recently to a minor league deal, is working out in Arizona (Cubs.com). It’s definitely not inconceivable that he could become a factor down the stretch if he works out whatever was troubling him earlier this year.
- Luke is on the road this week, vacationing/checking out minor league Cubs action. For that reason, the Minor League Daily might not be quite as daily. I’ll be keeping tabs, though, and at a minimum will give you a heads up on notable stuff here in the Bullets. With apologies, though, I’m no Luke. A good place to start each day if you just want the numbers is the Cubs Affiliate Scoreboard.
- Outfield prospect Donnie Dewees sure is taking to High-A. Promoted to Myrtle Beach 17 games ago, Dewees, 22, is hitting .329/.392/.500 after a four-hit game yesterday. He’s also already stolen 9 bases, and hasn’t been caught yet.
- Lefty Rob Zastryzny gave up a couple homers (that happens in Fresno), but he struck out 9 and walked just 1 over 5.0 innings of work last night, and has become something of a strikeout beast since his midseason promotion to Iowa (77 in 81.0 innings, including 22 in his last 16.0). When it comes to back-end depth starters for 2017 and beyond, Zastryzny, the Cubs’ 2nd round pick in 2013, is squarely on the radar.
- If you’re looking for a fancy new water bottle, they’re on sale at Amazon today only.
Michael Phelps has 23 career gold medals, or five fewer than Kris Bryant has home runs in THIS season alone.
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) August 14, 2016