Hendricks Maybe Not Quite That Bad, Grinding Contreras, Eloy Hurt, Vladito Debut, and Other Bullets

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Hendricks Maybe Not Quite That Bad, Grinding Contreras, Eloy Hurt, Vladito Debut, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It is rather challenging to say nothing – NOTHING AT ALL – about a movie I saw yesterday. Not even whether I enjoyed it or not. But I’m doing my part. When’s the cut-off, by the way? When can I say things? Maybe a week?

  • Kyle Hendricks had a relative stinker last night in the results department, which is very rare for him overall, but less rare in the early part of the season. And believe it or not, that interrupted a 12-start streak of Cubs starters allowing no more than three runs.
  • Of the outing, Hendricks told Cubs.com: “It was just terrible mental approach, bad intent, bad conviction to pitches. That was kind of the story throughout. Mechanically, it was OK. Action on my pitches was good. I just didn’t make good pitches.”

  • Personally, and sorry to disagree, but I thought it looked like Hendricks wasn’t getting great action on his pitches. Kinda sounds like Joe Maddon saw it that way, too (Cubs.com): “The ball just wasn’t finishing out of his hand like we normally see it. It didn’t have the same deception. Just wasn’t as sharp as he normally is, that’s the best way I could describe it. He normally makes a lot of pitches that hitters take that are called strikes, that are well-placed. He just didn’t have that. His changeup didn’t have that little thing at the end. It was just one of those nights.”
  • THAT SAID, maybe Hendricks was right. Although Hendricks gave up 10 hits in just 5.0 innings, not a single one had a 70% chance or better of being a hit. When you see something like that, you can sort of fairly state that he wasn’t exactly getting teed off on. Heck, he had only three balls over 100 mph in exit velocity, and two of those were almost exactly 100 mph. Shrug. Not sure there’s actually a lot of signal here.
  • This is extremely fun to me:

  • Since Victor Caratini was injured 16 days ago, Willson Contreras has caught every single inning the Cubs have played, with the exception of two late innings Taylor Davis got a while back. That’s it. To be sure, the Cubs have benefited from off-days in this stretch, but you get only so many off-days in a season, and it’s not as if leaning so heavily on Contreras *early* last year doesn’t feel like it caused issues in the second half. Just because an approach can be justified on any given day (“ah, well, he had an off-day two days ago, and then will have another in two days, so it’s fine”) doesn’t mean it’s a good approach when you take a step back and look at the whole. I remain of the mind that if the Cubs were unwilling to actually give Taylor Davis time, it was a criminal mistake not to get another back-up catcher the second Caratini went down. I really hope Joe Maddon’s over-reliance on Contreras doesn’t come home to roost in a year when it looked like Contreras had really put a lot together at the plate.
  • To that end: It could be a small sample coincidence, so this is more about teeing the question up than drawing any conclusions: over the last ten days, Contreras’s ISO is barely .100, his strikeout rate is over 30%, and his wRC+ is at just 84.
(Photo by Norm Hall:Getty Images)
  • Eloy Jimenez hurt himself in the outfield last night, initially being termed a sprained ankle:

  • Health and outfield defense were basically the only questions that ever existed about Jimenez as a big-time future star, so this is especially unfortunate to see. Hopefully he heals up fine – and good that he signed a big contract, yes? He’s getting an MRI today, and, for what it’s worth, he doesn’t think it’s too bad, despite how it looked.
  • Luggage and audio gear are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. made his extremely hyped debut last night in Toronto, and his first hit came leading off the bottom of the 9th in a tie game:

The Bears have a new running back, drafted last night:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.