Even on his best day, Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks understands his pitch-to-contact approach isn’t always going to be flawless.
In the 4-2 loss to the Pirates on Friday, Hendricks’ fastball command was much better than it was in the win over the Brewers last Saturday. But in the sixth inning, when the Pirates rallied for three runs — including two off Hendricks — his pitch quality wasn’t the issue.
Instead, the Pirates just hit it where the Cubs weren’t.
Andrew McCutchen led off the inning with a weakly hit single before Gregory Polanco broke his bat on a sharp single that grazed off of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s glove. By the time the inning was over and reliever Justin Grimm got Jordy Mercer to fly out after surrendering a two-run double to Francisco Cervelli, the Pirates had pulled ahead in an inning Hendricks characterized as “unfortunate.”
“It just happened to be bad timing,” Hendricks said. “You can’t look at the results there in the sixth inning and get all pissed off about it.”
Despite the loss, Hendricks felt better about this outing than his first, in which he yielded four earned runs. He knows it’s just a matter of time until he discovers the type of rhythm that made him so effective last season, when he finished third in National League Cy Young voting.
“You have to know you still made some good pitches. That’s where your focus has to be,” Hendricks said. “If you keep there over the long run, things will even out.”
The Cubs put reliever Carl Edwards Jr. on the bereavement list after a death in his family. They declined to specify the relation to Edwards, but manager Joe Maddon said Edwards is “devastated.”
“We all know C.J. He’s such a good kid,” Maddon said. “[He’s] absolutely devastated by it. We’ll just wait and see when he gets back. In the meantime, we’ll hold down the fort. Awful.”
Edwards has worked 4⅔ scoreless innings in which he has allowed one hit, struck out four and walked three.
The Cubs activated left-hander Brian Duensing (back) off the 10-day disabled list. He had a strikeout in one inning.
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