According to Christopher Kamka, the Chicago Cubs haven’t won a game in which they didn’t trail at some point since June 20th. That streak is still alive tonight, but for all the wrong reasons.
Yes, the Cubs just lost on a walk-off Pablo Sandoval base hit to left field, and it sucks. But you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t feel particularly salty about this loss. Sure the Cubs gifted the Giants a run on a failed pickoff play at first base early on (it was a very similar to Billy Hamilton’s scoring from first on a steal of second yesterday), but the Cubs lone run was lucky too – what should’ve been an inning ending double play turned into a run-scoring error.
And other than that, the Cubs did just about nothing at the plate tonight, recording a grand total of 4 hits and 5 walks in 11 innings. You simply need to do more than that to win.
But there are two much more positive reasons tonight’s loss isn’t hitting me all that hard. For one, the Brewers also loss in extra innings, so the Cubs still share the same number of losses as the team in first place. And for another, I’ll just say two words to start: Kyle freakin’ Hendricks is so awesome and was completely untouchable and now I’m dreaming on vintage Kyle for the rest of the season. Almost two words.
The professor was ON tonight, in what was easily his best performance of the season and one of the best performances of his career. Had the Cubs taken the lead in the top of the ninth (they had a runner on second at one point), he probably would’ve been left in to finish the game. As it stands, he threw 8.1 innings of no-earned-run baseball and was only lifted after delivering his first walk of the game with one out in the 9th. We’re going to dig into his start much more tomorrow (specifically, I know he was working with good velocity and getting a ton of whiffs), but for now, the promise of vintage Kyle Hendricks in the second half is allowing me to rest easy.
The Cubs didn’t win tonight, but The Professor may be back. Life could be worse.