All the Runs Against the Right Team, Hendricks Back, Joc Hot, Steele's Hammy, and Other Cubs Bullets

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All the Runs Against the Right Team, Hendricks Back, Joc Hot, Steele’s Hammy, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I headed up to Wisconsin from Chicago to visit with some friends who are all vaccinated – my first visit of that kind since the pandemic began – and it’s really awesome to be doing another very normal thing again. Sports on multiple TVs, drinking beers, playing video games, cooking good food … such a relief to get back to completely stupid and normal stuff.

•   For the first time in 600 days, the Cubs played a game at Busch Stadium and, for good measure, smoked the Cardinals. From the very first swing of the bat, the energy was UP for the rivalry, and it was great to see and feel. The Cubs players were on it, too. From Kyle Hendricks ( “You hear the guys just losing it, jumping out to a 1-0 lead,” Hendricks said of the atmosphere in the dugout after the home run. “We obviously know these are all big games [when] we face these guys, so just to get any kind of edge we can get is huge, and there’s nothing bigger than that.”

•   Speaking of that blast, it was Pederson’s first homer since April 7, and that power has been lurking as he gets his timing back. In the meantime, he’s just raking. Since coming off the IL (wrist) on May 4, dude is hitting .396/.433/.528 with great peripherals. Offense has felt a lot better in May? Yeah, Pederson’s a huge part of that. Among guys who’ve gotten at least 60 plate appearances over that stretch, Pederson’s 162 wRC+ is 24th in baseball.

•   Fun fact, though: that’s not the top mark on the Cubs during that stretch! Can you figure out who is tops (at 165)? Answer will be at the bottom of The Bullets. (By the way, the best hitter in all of baseball during the stretch is Trey Mancini, who beat cancer last year, so that’s just awesome.)

•   Not only did the Cubs score 8 in the 8th inning last night, but two of the outs were on the bases. Neither were necessarily bad risks, either, but it was clearly the only way the Cardinals were ever going to get an out to finish the frame.

•   Kyle Hendricks was the other dominant part of last night’s win, as he pretty much always is in St. Louis:

•   Sigh. Justin Steele’s hamstring strain, after a day to evaluate and get the scans and all that, is being termed “moderate” by David Ross. There’s still more evaluation going on, but, although pitchers sometimes return from hammies a little earlier than position players, a “moderate” strain is going to cost Steele several weeks. If he’s back before the end of June, it suddenly looks like a win. This really sucks, and this was really preventable.

•   Speaking of injuries, if you were wondering why Matt Duffy hasn’t had a start recently, he’s dealing with “bumps and bruises” according to Ross. Cool.

•   Cubs pitching prospect Ryan Jensen was *showing out* at High-A last night:

•   MLB’s efforts to crack down on illegal grip substances are, apparently, still very much in the information-gather phase, rather than the doing-anything-about-it phase. Great read here at The Athletic, and it seems like position players are getting increasingly ticked:

•   Standing desks, sheets, and massagers are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Watch the replay to really get a sense of how uncatchable this ball SHOULD have been:

•   The answer to the question about the hottest Cubs hitter since May 4 is, surprisingly (to me, anyway) … Anthony Rizzo! He is not striking out AT ALL, he’s walking a ton, and he’s hitting for an enormous average: .354/.475/.500. He’s still quite good, folks.

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.