Hendricks' Once-in-Decade Gem, Rizzo's Hot Streak, Montgomery's Rehab, and Other Bullets

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Hendricks’ Once-in-Decade Gem, Rizzo’s Hot Streak, Montgomery’s Rehab, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Wife *AND* The Little Girl are presenting at a conference today, which is really awesome. I have seen The Little Girl’s presentation, and it is captivating. In the meantime, I’m hanging with the other two kiddos today, which includes some Soccer Dad duties. In turn, that means I’ve got to try to sprint through these Bullets, otherwise you won’t get them for a couple hours. Let’s see if I can do it … [UPDATE: nope. Sorry.]

  • Thank you early-season numbers and a dominant outing: with his nine-inning shutout performance, Kyle Hendricks dropped his season ERA from a whopping 5.33 to just 3.93, which is actually 7% better than league average. By game score (88), the outing was Hendricks’ best in four years (he shut out the Padres in May 2015, allowing just five hits, no walks and striking out seven – that was good for an 89).
  • Hendricks’ “Maddux” yesterday – the first of his career – was just three pitches more than the record Maddux – a 78-pitch shutout by former Cub Jon Lieber – and it came 10 years after the Cubs’ last Maddux, a 98-pitch Carlos Zambrano effort against the Giants back in 2009. Pretty incredible stuff, and how the heck about this:

  • Hendricks says he got a bit lucky with some of the hard contact he let up yesterday (his defense really came to play behind him), but also noted that he and Willson Contreras noticed how aggressive the Cardinals were being with their swings early in the game, so they simply decided to play to that:

  • Here’s a more complete highlight reel from Hendricks’ performance, in case you missed it, or, let’s be honest, you just want to see more highlights for the 10th time:

  • A reminder of just how good Hendricks is at what he does – these two pitches are nearly identical from the batter’s perspective, and yet the speeds are so different:

  • More from Hendricks’ incredible performance:

  • Bonus factoid about the shutout, in general:

  • After his perfect day at the plate, including his 8th homer, and a couple weeks of extreme heat, Anthony Rizzo is now up to a .252/.386/.551 slash line on the year. That’s good for a 146 wRC+, which would be his best mark since 2014. Speaking of 2014, that was the year Hendricks debuted with the Cubs, making he and Rizzo, together with Pedro Strop, the longest-tenured Cubs. Of course, Willson Contreras had actually been in the Cubs organization for a full year before even Rizzo joined the org. Segues to picture …
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
  • Hey, I know this guy:

  • It figures to now be just about time for Montgomery to return to the big league Cubs, and, even though he’s stretched out to start, there isn’t a place for him to be doing that on the Cubs unless there’s an injury in the rotation in the next five days. It is *conceivable* that the Cubs could look to deal Montgomery to a starter-needy club this week, but that seems rather risky, and also very difficult to put together in early May. On the whole, I suspect he’ll just slot back into the Cubs’ bullpen.
  • Travis d’Arnaud has officially been released by the Mets, so if the Cubs want to add some veteran catching depth, he’s now freely available. Not sure if he’s toast or not, though.
  • Huge sale on the Echo Dot today, so get on that if you want one:

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.