The Cubs have won their 5th in a row! Not that you avoided all nerves …
Kyle Hendricks didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he worked the zone and let the Royals do their aggressive thing, and netted the Cubs their fifth straight quality start. He gave up seven hits through seven innings and struck out only three, but no walks, and minimal overall damage. He was perfect in the 6th and the 7th, leaving us to feel pretty chill in advance of the bullpen. He knew the drama would come later.
Jeremy Jeffress came out for the 8th, which is fine in isolation, as he pitched a perfect inning. But knowing that Rowan Wick was probably down after last night, that meant … Craig Kimbrel was getting the 9th in a true save situation.
Sadly, it was the same story. Again. The curveball didn’t net a single swing, and the fastball was too frequently middle-middle. A couple wrecked balls (single, strikeout (one good elevated fastball), double) and he was pulled for Kyle Ryan. Something remains very wrong with Kimbrel.
A couple inherited runners allowed later, the Royals wound up getting the tying run to third against Ryan, whose velocity is still down (we’ll get to that one tomorrow) – but Kris Bryant bailed him out with a brilliant play at third to end the game.