Kyle Hendricks is on the mound for the Cubs tonight at frosty Wrigley Field, following an up-and-down start to the season.
4/07 vs. MIL: 5.1 IP, 5H, 1ER, 3BB, 7Ks
4/13 @ PIT: 3.2 IP, 7H, 6ER, 4BB, 4Ks
Brett got into it a bit the other day, in case you missed the conversation:
If Kyle Hendricks on Opening Day was basically the version you would absolutely hope to see this year (better than anything we saw in 2021), then Kyle Hendricks in Pittsburgh was basically the version you would absolutely hope to never see this year (a carbon copy of the issues that plagued him last year). He knows it, and he knows how bad this is:
Kyle Hendricks said he felt out of sync from pitch one, with a rushed tempo leading to his fastball being elevated.
“[Willson] and I tried to go to the secondary stuff, see where it was, but it wasn’t playing off the fastball, obviously. Fastball command is the key for me …” pic.twitter.com/Tn0wvQukPM
— Jake Crouse (@JakeCrouseMLB) April 13, 2022
The four-seamer being up there is generally fine (though I would guess he was throwing it that often only because he couldn’t locate the sinker). And the sinker at the top of the zone was something he and the Cubs played around with last year, but just didn’t work out. So, yeah, when the sinker is up like that, not only is it going to get battered around, but nothing else is going to work off of it. Recipe for a disaster like yesterday on the batted ball front, AND he won’t get many strikeouts, AND if he’s extra wild, he gives up uncharacteristic walks. Just the perfect opposite of everything he showed against the Brewers.
Basically, the key for Hendricks will be establishing his two-seamer down and away, allowing the changeup to play off it more effectively as an out-pitch. Let’s see if he can figure it back out.
A win tonight will bring the Cubs back up to their season-best two games over .500.
Tampa Bay Rays (5-5) Chicago Cubs (5-4) – Monday, April 18 at 6:40 CT on Marquee, 670 The Score
Bet of the Day:
The oddsmakers are trying to bait me into taking the over on strikeouts for Shane McClanahan (o/u 6.5Ks is +115 right now at DraftKings), and with 15 strikeouts over his first 9.0 innings this year it’s tough to avoid. But this is such a different Cubs team this year. And with Patrick Wisdom a little more locked in offensively at the moment, I’m just not sure I’m willing to bet McClanahan gets 7Ks before he’s removed from the game. It’s not an awful bet given the odds, but I’m not taking it tonight. But do what you must.
Rays: Shane McClanahan (L)
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (R)
Chicago Cubs (Lineup Discussion):
1. Nick Madrigal, 2B
2. Willson Contreras, C
3. Frank Schwindel, 1B
4. Seiya Suzuki, RF
5. Yan Gomes, DH
6. Patrick Wisdom, 3B
7. Michael Hermosillo, CF
8. Ian Happ, LF
9. Nico Hoerner, SS
Tampa Bay Rays:
1. Brandon Lowe, 2B
2. Josh Lowe, DH
3. Randy Arozarena, LF
4. Ji-Man Choi, 1B
5. Yandy Diaz, 3B
6. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
7. Mike Zunino, C
8. Brett Phillips, RF
9. Taylor Walls, SS
Wander Franco was scratched from the Rays' lineup tonight against the Cubs due to right quad tightness.
— Ryan Herrera (@ryan_a_herrera) April 18, 2022