Hendricks gets close, Cubs get closer

Hendricks gets close, Cubs get closer

Almost a no-no
But Cubs are one step closer
Joe West? A real putz.

With three weeks to go in the season, and the magic number small enough for a single hand, Cubs fans are focused more on when, rather than if, the team will clinch the NL Central Division title.

On Monday night Kyle Hendricks did his best to give the faithful something else to get excited about. Baseball's ERA leader allowed only two base runners through eight innings before Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the ninth with a home run. It was a dominant performance from the soft-spoken Dartmouth alum.

No-hitters, and near no-hitters like this one, usually include some luck in the form of great defensive plays behind the pitcher. Monday night was no exception. In the 6th inning Hendricks got help from both Addison Russell and Jason Heyward.

First, Russell made a sliding stop and great throw to get Jhonny Peralta. Even Peralta couldn't believe how fast Russell made it to his feet to make the throw. In July there was some surprise that Russell made the All-Star team, but with plays like this becoming commonplace it's clear he belonged there.

The next batter in the sixth was Hazelbaker, who would later break up the no-hitter and shut-out. Heyward chased a foul ball into the right field stands and made the catch even as a Cardinals fan tried to take it out of his glove. But Javy Baez was there to make sure that didn't happen.

Cardinals bats didn't look too good facing the great stuff Hendricks was throwing. But the most pathetic performance of the night came just after the Hazelbaker home run when home plate umpire Joe West decided to make himself the center of attention. It's hard to understand what was going on inside West's big fat head.

During the postgame show, David Kaplan suggested West was in a hurry to get to a buffet table. For some reason I'm unable to embed the MLB video of Maddon's ejection, so click here to see the incident for yourself.

My conclusion about West?

Oh, and one other thing:


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