Cubs Lose Late Despite "Vintage Hendricks" Performance; Giants 2, Cubs 1


The Cubs came into tonight's game off a come-from-behind victory that was aided by a crucial error by a first baseman and aggressive base running.  Likewise, tonight's game was heavily influenced by the same factors.  They were hoping to see the Kyle Hendricks that we all came to know and love from 2014-17, but who has struggled thus far in 2018.  We got to see an excellent performance by Hendricks, but he was unfortunately let down by his offense and defense in this one.

The Cubs started off by grinding out at bats.  By my count, four of the first six batters worked 3-2 counts against Giants starter, Andrew Suárez, and did so five total times in the first two innings.  Unfortunately, they were also susceptible to ground balls, and Suárez was able to work around walks to Javier Báez (!) and Willson Contreras in the first two innings.

The Cubs did put a run on the board in the third inning.  Ian Happ led off with a double to right-center field.  Kyle Hendricks was unable to move Happ along to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Albert Almora Jr. ripped a line drive single to left field.  Happ initially retreated toward second base on the hit, and was not able to score.  He would come home one batter later, when Addison Russell grounded into a fielder's choice.  1-0 Cubs.

While the Cubs jacked up the pitch count against Suárez early on, they became significantly more impatient as the game rolled along.  And it felt like most of those at bats saw the ball rolling straight to shortstop, where Brandon Crawford gobbled them up.  Between Suárez, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, and Will Smith, the Cubs only collected four base hits, and reached base on four bases on balls.

"Vintage Hendricks"

For his part, Kyle Hendricks was outstanding.  He too, induced weak contact, and had some swing-and-miss action with his change up for the first time in a long time.  The only blemish on his evening came in the bottom of the fifth.  Pablo Sandoval led off with a chopper that bounced over the outstretched glove of Hendricks, but fielded by Javier Báez charging from second.  Javy made a quick throw to first, but Anthony Rizzo was not able to react - or perhaps his fiancée put a curse on his mitt - and could not make the catch.  Alen Hanson was up next, and grounded the ball to Russell at shortstop, but the Cubs were only able to get the force at second, as the speedy Hanson was too quick.  In the interim, the Cubs staff was not able to sacrifice a live chicken in time to remove the curse from Rizzo's glove before a crucial moment of the game.  With Hanson on first, Hendricks attempted a pick-off.  Rizzo was, again, unable to react to the ball and it bounced away into foul territory down the right field line.  In part because there is a ton of foul territory, but also because Báez took some time to get the ball in, Hanson was able to run around all of the bases to score on the error.  The game was tied 1-1.

As the game continued, Hendricks got stronger.  After the error, Hendricks went on to retire 10 straight Giants into the eighth inning.  Hendricks made it through the eighth while just surpassing the 100-pitch mark.  Unfortunately, the Cubs were not able to score to put him in line for the win.  Joe Maddon allowed Hendricks to start the 9th inning, and he got Andrew McCutchen to pop up to Contreras.  However, when he walked Brandon Belt, Maddon came out to get him in favor of Randy Rosario.  On the night, Hendricks went 8 1/3 innings, allowing just one unearned run while allowing five hits and one base on balls.  Len Kasper called it correctly in the eighth inning when he said we were seeing "vintage Hendricks" in this one.


(I worked hard for all of 3 minutes on this MS Paint job, so I'm leaving it in)

No Rest for the Weary

This being a stressful week for me , wouldn't you know that this one would go to extras in game 1 of the West Coast swing.  Rosario was able to make it through the bottom of the ninth unscathed.  In the tenth inning Jason Heyward walked with one out.  Almora *just* missed a home run down the left field line, but it went foul.  He ended up striking out in the at bat.  Addison Russell was robbed of a potential single by Crawford, when the shortstop made a nice stop on a grounder up the middle, and threw to beat Russell on the play.

Things got pretty anxious in the bottom of the tenth.  After retiring the lead-off batter, Rosario was removed in favor of Steve Cishek, who was appearing in his 143rd game of the season.  Hunter Pence wasted no time in driving the ball just past the glove of Almora in center field, and ended up with a triple.  Cishek buckled down and struck out both Chase d'Arnaud and Steven Duggar to escape the jam.

The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th.  As we saw in Sunday's game against the Reds, you can't continue to give the home team chances to win in extras forever.

Cishek started the bottom of the 11th, and got Buster Posey to pop up in the infield for out number one.  He was followed, however, by back-to-back singles by McCutchen and Brandon Belt.  This put runners on first and third with just one out.  Maddon brought Pedro Strop in, as well as a fifth infielder to try to prevent a game-winning run.  Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked to load the bases for the Kung Fu Panda, and he promptly slapped the ball into left field for a game winning, walk-off single.  Ouch.

Source: FanGraphs
Moving Forward

The Cubs lost out on a chance to gain on Milwaukee, who lost to Florida, so this one hurts a little extra.  Add to the beautiful, wasted effort by Hendricks this one is gonna sting for a bit.  Thankfully, this team is more resilient than the average fan base, and tomorrow brings another opportunity.  It will be a tough one, though, as José Quintana will start for the Cubs against Johnny Cueto.  First pitch is at 9:15.

Author's Note: This is my last recap until August, as the powers that be have granted me a little bit of off-time.  It's a busy/stressful month as we're preparing for a move and I'm studying to take a test to add an endorsement to my teaching license.  I *should* be back in August, and the Cubs *will* be in first place when I return.




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  • 1) Good ol bang-bang. Always count on him to give it up.
    2) Deeply concerned with Rizzo. Something physically major wrong. Seems he hasn't squared up a ball in a long while. Cubs Insider recently point out some very troubling statistics. Add his two missed throws that cost the game tonite and you have to be concerned. Is anybody out there paying attention. Eye sight maybe?

  • In reply to veteran:

    Not sure what you're referring to with #1 (Strop?) but I agree with #2. I'm guessing his back, and I'm scared it could linger. Is it possible he hits the DL when Bryant returns?

    Thanks for your contributions, Sean, and enjoy your "break". I'm hoping you do better with your endorsement than that photo of Hendrix/Hendricks, though I'm guessing you'll put in more effort. Good luck!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks, BP! I always appreciate your positive feedback. I knew that I should have had Kyle setting fire to his guitar, but that would have required a little more work.

    I'm also confused on the first point by the above post. If it's referring to Strop, he's been sensational this year, and it's a lot to expect someone to come in with the bases loaded with one out. Though I do remember him once getting out unscathed with the bases loaded and nobody out (Junior Lake wasn't here to play third base tonight, so that must be it).

    Rizzo has been the rock in this lineup for years. While people have worried about Bryant's month-long stretch without a homer, it's pretty clear that Rizzo's power has been missing too. Not sure if people haven't been talking about it as much because he keeps getting RBIs (feels like on mostly SFs and fielder's choice ABs). He is really scuffling, and his inability to catch those two balls tonight does probably indicate a lack of mobility due to injury.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I was at the game last night. The movement on Hendricks changeup was good and late. Arm speed on fastball and change up was the same.
    ATT is a great park to walk around to see all angles.

    At the beginning of the game Rizzo made a nice quick twitch grab of a line drive. On a tall man, I would not be surprised if he is having discomfort. Later in the game, he wasn’t moving as fluidly.

    Baez took too long getting the ball back in. That is the 2nd time in a week speed on the bases has caused good fielders to mishandle the ball allowing runs to score.

  • In reply to veteran:

    I don't think there is a major physical problem or eye sight problem with Rizzo. He is having a down year and may be in a slump but he is still driving in runs.

  • If Javy would've fielded the errant pickoff throw with more urgency, the Cubs maybe could've won in regulation. Great seeing Hendricks look how we've come to expect. Hopefully, that's who we see moving forward.

    Love your MS Paint job of Kyle Hendrix... Made me lololololzzz big time!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yes blame the guy who had to run 100 feet to get a pick off throw that rizzo botched. Makes sense

  • In reply to bolla:

    The error goes to Rizzo no doubt and if he catches it then Javy doesn't have to go get it, but if you can't acknowledge that Javy was lackadaisical after he got to it then I firmly believe you think he does no wrong.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    It looked like Javy was baiting the runner. He's too smart and wily to have been that lackadaisical on that play. This exact scenario is the kind of thing we've been arguing about since he stole home: he does wild things because his ability allows him to, but sooner or later it will cost him.
    If he really was baiting the runner, I for one liked the play. It's that kind of cunning that allows him to showcase his ability. Didn't work out this time. Oh well. Should have scored more than 1 run.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    If he was baiting the runner, it was not a smart baseball play. You don't "bait" a fast runner to try to score late in a tie game when you'd have to make a perfect 150' throw to the plate from foul territory. Not smart at all. Javy is smarter than that.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Eh, agree to disagree I guess. A lot of the stuff Javy does is not smart. But he pulls it off. If the runner stays at 3B there's still only one out. He's likely scoring anyway. I liked the play, even though it wasn't really smart.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    You say a lot of stuff Javy does is not smart and your previous post was he was too smart to be lackadaisical. I think he was lackadaisical on that play.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Not smart in the sense that the stuff he does wouldn't be considered a "high-percentage" play (stealing home for instance). It's different if you pull it off on pure ability nearly every time. He's a smart player; he does things that one wouldn't consider "smart" or "by the book."

    Yeah, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt because I've seen almost every play he's ever been involved in, and I've never once seen him be lackadaisical. I have, however, seen him be one step ahead of the opposition, and I've seen him utilize his ability in ways that is flat out arrogant. I think he was trying to bait, rather than simply not hustling. That's how he plays. Like it or not, that's fine. Just my opinion on what happened.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    "Kramerica - I'm not sure you can say Baez has never been lackadaisical in the past. He has not run out every ground ball or fly out and has shown lackadaisical plays in the field."

    He's been around for parts of 5 seasons now - I'm sure he's had a lackadaisical play in the field or two... but I don't remember it. He's always sharp and thinking ahead on defense or on the bases.
    As for not running out fly balls and grounders, maybe you're alluding to the incident against the Pirates/Clint Hurdle for which Baez apologized? I don't really care about guys not running 100% on routine pop ups or ground balls, to be honest. As long as they aren't walking, just a light jog is fine by me. I wouldn't call it lazy if a player did that.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I'm a staunch Javy fan, and I didn't want to weigh in until I did a little more review. has a very good video of the play, and I just watched it about 20 times.

    The errant throw rolled to probably the worst place it could have. As Javy was finally approaching the ball, he glanced over his left shoulder to check the runner. Hanson at that point had just touched 2B and was heading to 3B. At that point Javy did slow down, conceding 3B.

    Javy lazily picked up the ball, fumbling once, yet had no urgency on the play. Heyward was, at this point, within shouting distance to instruct Javy where to go with the ball. He doesn't appear to offer any instruction. Neither he nor Javy expected Hanson to continue home.

    Javy picked up the ball and made a slow turn to return the ball to the infield. His feet and upper body were positioned to make a softer toss back to Rizzo or Russell. At this point he first noticed Hanson had rounded 3B and was heading home. He had to reposition his feet and upper body to make the throw home. Javy is too smart and too athletic to position himself so poorly if he was baiting him. He was fooled on the play, as was Heyward.

    Was Javy slow (at the end) to the ball? Yes. Was he lackadaisical on the play and wrong in assuming Hanson would stop at 3B? Absolutely. He was wrong in not showing more urgency in finishing the play, but he was not baiting him.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just watched it again. You're probably right. Tip your cap to Hanson. Trying to score there is, itself, a low percentage, "dumb" move as he'd be at 3B with 1 out. But it worked.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Javy got Javy'd.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    BP, my 1st reaction/thought was, while asking aloud to my daughter (who plays 1B, OF & pitcher in FPSB), “did anyone point or tell him where to throw or what the runner was doing?” My gut instinct was they either said nothing or told him “nothing, nothing” meaning no play, the runner is holding at 3rd. Javy had his back to the play other than the 1 look back that you described.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Kramerica - I'm not sure you can say Baez has never been lackadaisical in the past. He has not run out every ground ball or fly out and has shown lackadaisical plays in the field.

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    In reply to Kramerica20:

    You are right he dared the runner to go and he did. Made some great plays this year but that was not a smart baseball play. Albert did the same thing in a prior game. Not smart

  • I agree with most that Javy was lackadaisical on the play. But Pence had a base hit right after, so Hanson scores anyway. The run was unearned because Rizzo allowed the base runner with his first error & then allowed him to get to 3rd with his second error. It doesn't excuse the Javy moment, but that run scores anyway because of Anthony's errors.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    Might have pitched him differently w/the man on vs bases empty. We’ll never know... Also, they could have got the out at the plate &/or in a run down if more sense of urgency on all parties.

    But yes, if the throw is caught in the 1st place, he’s still on 1st & he may not score at all.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Do you think Baez hustled after the ball?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I agree with your perspective on Javy he needed to show more urgency but that throw from out there was a strike and I don't think any other 2B could've made that type of throw from that far out but hopefully he learns from that one. That said Rizzo was to blame mostly for that play, that inning with his 2 errors and that ballgame with an awful day at the plate and defensively. I'm not worried about rizzo I generally don't worry about him but he had a rough game.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    If the Cubs score TWO runs in this game within 10 innings, only one more than they did, the defensive miscues become irrelevant and this discussion is probably much shorter. I don't like errors, whether physical or mental, but I pin this loss on the batters who didn't get it done at the plate. Batting "errors" aren't nearly as visible, but have as much or more impact on the game.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Failing to worse case get Russell over to 3rd, let alone home w/no outs hurt. Rizzo’s grounder to right side w/1out would have scored him, but it only moved him to 3rd & made 2 outs...

  • Good luck with the move and the test for whatever licensing upgrade you are doing, Sean...

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:


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    In reply to Sean Atchley:

    Good luck. Did the same type of thing tough to do.

  • What an awful way to start my day on the East Coast. Ugh!!!!

    Great to see Hendricks deal. His return to form would go a long way for this staff.

    Rizzo. Well...... i hate to pile on, but he has been awful this year. No other way to say it. His bat has been MIA except for a brief hot streak. I felt like he should have over a 100 RBI with the seemingly weak contact with guys on base. I looked up his stats only to see him at .289 with runners on base. His .200 average with no one on was alarming, but this is certainly not the Rizzo we have come to expect. And now his glove led to a loss. This is just inexplicable. It’s crazy to think the Cubs could have a really good record despite Rizzo and Bryant, for the most part, being terrible versus their regular stellar seasons.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I wonder if that was a part of the reason for bringing up Caratini and cutting Gimenez? If there is something wrong with Rizzo, might we see more Caratini at 1B?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I think the Caratini call up was to showcase a little bit. My only reserve there is what we would do now without him if he is in a trade. But, he is blocked in a major way. KB will play first most of the time if Rizzo is gone for any amount of time.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Gimenez can't hit and is no good - nothing to do with Rizzo

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    As disappointed as I was in last night's loss, if we get Kyle back to what he was, like he did last night, I'll trade last night for his continued success. He was masterful. Yes, Rizzo had a bad night, but we're playing really well lately and he'll bounce back.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I am with you and am very happy with Kyle. I am very glad to see that.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That is basically my sentiment as well. Kyle back and "dealin'" is worth a lot to me. Obviously it might have just been 1 game, but it feels good to see that again.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Agree. A return of Kyle is huge.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yes we have been winning and coming from behind a ton to do it. But as baseball is known for and that is evening out. We will not continue to come from behind to win games that will balance out. Also the strength of schedule has been very kind to us.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Agreed Jonathan I think it was a tough loss hate losing those ballgames where I'm up until midnight watching the game lol. At the same time I think Kyle was brilliant and not just with his outstanding results but I think his execution of his sinker/changeup/curveball were as good as I've seen since the end of 2017 I haven't felt like he's been right with his overall execution all year despite being better early on then he has been lately. Great to see that type of outing and execution by Kyle I think it's good for everyone including Kyle to see that he's still a great pitcher when he's locked in and executing his pitches like he can. It's always easy to criticize guys when they're struggling but for me I judge process as much as results and there hasn't been many times this year where I've felt that Hendricks or Q have been very locked in with their fastball/sinker command and it's been hurting them. Q has good stuff but like Jon Lester and Hendricks he also relies on having very good command in general and that great command just hasn't been there this season and to me it's partly mechanical with both Hendricks and Q. I know it's easy to point to a struggling pitcher and say "well why do they never have their best fastball command it's been 3 months?" but sometimes it's just baseball and guys slump simple as that. I've been saying it all year I still believe that Hendricks and Q are a lot better than they've shown thus far this year and hopefully they can turn it on in the 2nd half because I believe the ability is there and those guys are going to be keys in whether we're mere playoff contenders or World series contenders.

    Hopefully Rizzo can get it going it's been a rough year for him and it's rare you see him have that type of defensive inning and he also had a rough night at the plate as well unfortunately. I don't get worried about Rizzo in general I have faith in his abilities and his makeup but it's pretty amazing we're playing as well as we have when he's really been an average 1B. I know he's driving in runs and he has that ability overall but I think that's also in part a by-product of hitting in front of Almora/Heyward recently/and Bryant most of the year I don't think his high RBI numbers are reflective of a good year by his standards. Hopefully we see a patented Rizzo hot streak soon we need him to be better it's that simple not saying he's been bad by any means though.

  • Just wanna chime in quickly on something that seldom is brought up....
    All of you here that scout the prospects and do the re-caps and previews.......a BIG thank you from all of us!
    We know you do this on your own time and dime and we all really appreciate it!

    ( season’s only half over tho.....chop chop lol)

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Thanks, Wickdipper! I think most realize that we are trying to honor John with keeping the site going, but also to honor the vast majority of posters here that are civil, informed, curious, and passionate Cubs fans.

    Also, some of us have big egos and like knowing that people read our stuff.

    But mostly that first part.

  • Hendricks pitched really good and went into the 9th, rizzo error was critical though, cost the cubs the game. Stranding Russell with that lead off double late was costly.Just wish the cubs could be more consistent with situational hitting/bunting.

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    I also was at the game last night. I think this is the first game of the year we allowed a team to beat us. On the Rizzo error missing Hendricks pickoff, AR seemed to not hustle going for that ball. That young SF 2nd baseman took a play right out of our “Javy” playbook and made the Cubs look bad. I can’t fault Strop for that loss cause SF got the hits and made the play to win. Hats off to them.

    Good turnout by Cubbie fans last night. Lots of blue visible all thru AT&T. I hope tonight there’s a little more to cheer about. Nice to see Hendricks return to Maddox like precision and super-nice to see Madden leave a starter in past 5 or 6 innings. Being from Austin, I sure appreciate 65 degree days. Weather was ideal. Let’s get a win tonight Cubbies!

  • Thanks for all of the work you do, Sean. Love the August prediction, by the way. Babe Ruth, Joe Namath, and now you. Awesome!

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Thanks, Hef! I haven't done well historically in the prediction threads, so we'll keep our fingers crossed!

  • Cubs are but two games off their 2016 pace, a pace that started out 24-6, where this team started out 16-14 in is first 30. Meaning they went 29-29 from that great start and this year 35-23 after the first 30. They have overcome significant injuries and disappointing performances by key players.

    So when a rumor comes out and identifies the Cubs seeking a veteran like Jones or Granderson for the purposes of a clubhouse leader I wonder. Their five man OF is solid defensively, productive offensively and outside of Schwarber flexible where there are three players who can play CF and the corners.

    Now that Bryant is returning the club is due for a big post ASB push. But it still means someone was sending a message, either the Cubs to its locker room or an agent/trading team trying to stir the waters. Besides the 5th starter role, in the clubhouse the only position that a clubhouse leader could fit is the back up catcher.

    Anyway looking for this club to approach 97 or more wins and all this angst to be long forgotten.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Most of the trade rumors are just BS at this time of the year.

  • Is La Stella that awful in the field that he can't get a start with Bryant on the DL. He's been a bit cold at the plate lately. Maybe a start and 4 at-bats is what is needed to get him going. I'm not hating on Bote but not sure he warrants all the starts he's getting.

  • In reply to berber31:

    I’ve been wondering similarly... I gotta believe LaStella would be in more of a platoon role w/2nd division teams than he is here. Between Zobrist, Happ, Báez & Bryant, 2B & 3B is covered. And now w/Bote. I am starting to wonder if Happ &/or Bote are being showcased for possible trades when KB comes back. LaStella seems to be the odd man out of playing time here, even with the 13 pitcher pitching staff.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I know that last night Maddon was really into having a right-handed lineup (with the exception of Rizzo), going so far as to sit Heyward, who has done well historically at AT&T Park. That was probably at least part of reasoning last night.

    Also, Happ and Bote have been performing well of late. Maddon plays the hot hand. Keep in mind that they're younger, and need to see more reps in order to improve, but Maddon is likely to put them into situations that they are more likely to succeed in.

    Another aspect to consider is that La Stella has made himself into one of the most reliable pinch hitters in the game. That's not a skill that is easily obtained.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I don't think they are show casing any players when you are trying to win

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