What You Need To Know: This thing you Chicagoans call … rain? … delayed today’s game. Rather than a 1:20 start time, the game was finally underway around 2:15 PM. The Cubs faced the Brewers and sit a half-game behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. Chicago sent Kyle Hendricks to face Tommy Milone. Making his third start, Hendricks entered hoping to find his groove as he struggled in his first start against the Brewers (5 H, 4 RA, 6.0 IP) and in his second start against the Pirates (6 H, 3 RA, 2 BB, 3 K, 5.0 IP).
Next Level: It is still too early in the season to make any solid conclusions about Kyle Hendricks’ command, but it is worth noting, even with a small sample caveat. Through his first two starts, Hendricks is posting a much smaller K-BB% compared to the last two seasons and over his career.
|2017 (11.0 IP)||19.6%||6.5%||13.1%|
Looking at his release points from the previous two years and his first three starts this year, it seems that his release point is a few inches from its mark.
Here is his release point from 2015 through 2016.
Here are his release points from 2015 through his starts in 2017. The mass of bubbles on the right are the pitches Hendricks has thrown from the corresponding release point. Like I said, it is still too early to draw any conclusions, but as the season goes on, we will see if Hendricks’ weak command thus far is the result of tweaked mechanics.
Top WPA Play: The Cubs mounted a rally in the bottom of the eighth and were able to make it a one-run ball game. However, the Cubs—no stranger to late-game drama–rallied once again and eventually won the game. Following Schwarber’s pop-up to second, Jon Jay drew a walk. Miguel Montero hit a groundball to right, advancing Jay to third. Kris Bryant singled, bringing Jay home and tying the game. Rizzo grounded out to first but was able to advance Carl Edwards, Jr. to third and Bryan to second. Addison Russell hit a towering shot over the left field wall to give Chicago the win (+.365).
Bottom WPA Play: The rally in the eighth fell short. With only one out and the tying and go-ahead run on second and third, the Cubs needed a deep single to take the lead. Unfortunately, Albert Almora was unable to bring Rizzo and Russell around to score. Though he battled at the plate for eleven pitches, Almora got caught looking at a nasty curve that dropped in the outside corner of the zone (-.215).
Up Next: The Cubs have an off day tomorrow. Their road trip begins in Cincinnati on Friday. They will play a three-game series against the Reds and then head to Pittsburgh for a three-game series against the Pirates.
Lead photo courtesy David Banks—USA Today Sports