The story was the same for Kyle Hendricks on Monday night. There were some decent signs and encouraging moments but a couple too many balls got through to call it a good night.
If it feels familiar to you, you’re not alone.
“Just got to keep building,” Hendricks said. “Seems like déjà vu but just got to keep building off it.”
Hendricks went five innings and allowed three runs on five hits while walking three to match a season-high. He’s winless in his last four starts and hasn’t gone more than six innings since Aug. 1.
He gave up a run-scoring single in the fourth to Ivan De Jesus Jr. and then a two-run single to Brandon Phillips in the fifth.
“I thought Kyle had good stuff tonight. I thought he had really good stuff tonight,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I know he’d like to have two pitches back – the base hit up the middle with two outs and the base hit by Phillips. But I thought stuff-wise from the side, good movement on the fastball, some really good change-ups, a couple good hooks. But I thought his stuff was actually pretty good tonight.”
Hendricks’ importance to the Cubs is clear. After Jake Arrieta, the rest of the rotation is surrounded by questions. Hendricks will have to be steady for the Cubs to hold off San Francisco in September, a month he wants to be better than his August.
“Just trying to build off this. I had good fastball command tonight. My change-up’s been feeling good. I’ve been throwing better curveballs,” Hendricks said. “It’s just kind of staying where I’m at and hopefully things will turn around.”
New (and old) additions
After Monday’s game the Cubs said they were adding Javier Baez, Quintin Berry, Trevor Cahill and Tsuyoshi Wada when rosters expand Tuesday. Berry and Cahill are not on the 40-man roster, meaning the Cubs will need to make moves to accommodate their arrivals.
Baez, whose return to the big leagues was widely expected, entered play Monday hitting .324 for Iowa. In a 52-game cameo last season, Baez hit nine homers but had a .169 average with 95 strikeouts.
Over parts of two seasons with the Cubs, Wada is 5-5 with a 3.40 ERA.
Justin Grimm confirmed he didn’t know Arrieta had thrown a no-hitter Sunday night until after moments after the game.
Grimm said as he went onto the field with his fellow relievers he looked up at a scoreboard at Dodger Stadium and saw a message congratulating the Cubs’ right-hander on his first career no-hitter.
“I was just excited for him,” Grimm said. “I wasn’t surprised once I realized what had happened.”
Grimm allowed four runs in the sixth, a career-high as a reliever. Before Monday, he had given up only five runs in 47 relief appearances.
Though the Cubs entered play Monday 9 1/2 games behind division-leading St. Louis, Maddon wasn’t dismissing chasing down the Cardinals.
“It’s been kind of a rugged stretch because we’ve been playing well but they do not want to relent, and that’s cool,” Maddon said. “We’re going to have play them a little bit heads up in the near future, but I’ve been in this position before and our goal is to still catch them.”
The Cubs play St. Louis six more times before the end of the season.