That was a thud-ish loss at the end of another good homestand, and another series win. It always *feels* less enjoyable when it plays out that way than, say, if the Cubs had lost the first game of the series and then won the final two. But a series win is a series win.
Kyle Hendricks wasn’t dominating, but he was at 86 pitches with just one run allowed when his spot in the order came up in the bottom of the 5th. Joe Maddon elected to hit with Tommy La Stella with runners on first and second, rather than leave Hendricks in for one more inning (and a sac bunt, presumably, in an effort to tie up the game). I tend to skew toward being comfortable with pulling starters early if they’re not looking dominant – get ’em out before the bad stuff happens – so I didn’t really freak out in that moment. Still, Hendricks certainly didn’t look bad, and hadn’t allowed a run since the leadoff homer. I think leaving him in would have been justified.
The bullpen immediately came in and blew up, putting the game out of reach (though the Cubs’ bats managed just a single run the rest of the way). Maddon will get heat for this one, but I’m not sure it’s entirely fair.
A big, big series against the Brewers looms. Hopefully the Cubs toss this one off, and hit the road with renewed vigor.