Cubs can thank NL Central rivals for keeping division close with poor play

Notes: Kyle Hendricks on track for return this homestand, Cody Bellinger still working toward baseball activities.

SHARE Cubs can thank NL Central rivals for keeping division close with poor play
Cubs manager David Ross is charged with leading his team out of a month-long rut.

Cubs manager David Ross is charged with leading his team out of a month-long rut.

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Even after a 2-7 road trip, the Cubs are only 4½ games behind the National League Central-leading Brewers.

“Thank goodness for the [poor] play of everybody in the division, I guess,” manager David Ross said.

The schedule could provide a shake-up in the standings this week, with the Cardinals and Reds playing each other, then the Reds making the trip to Chicago this weekend. On Tuesday, the Cubs beat the Mets 7-2, and the Cardinals pulled out an 8-5 victory against the Reds, leaving the Cubs (21-26) in third place in the division.

“It’s great that no one’s running away with the division,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. “But ultimately the standard has to be high, and you have to build a team that can win at every level. And you can take some solace in that, but ultimately it doesn’t make me feel better about our record or where we are.”

If the Cubs can compete with the Mets for the full three-game series, their best-case scenario would be for the Cardinals and Reds to split the four-game set. But if the Cubs continue to slide, a tumble down the standings eventually will follow.

“We’ve always tried to take care of ourselves,” Ross said. “And when we’ve got our things buttoned up and [are] playing good clean baseball and executing from pitch to pitch, that’s the best version of us. We’ve just got to get back to that first and worry about the division as we just play better baseball.”

Hendricks still on track

Preparing to make his season debut this homestand, right-hander Kyle Hendricks threw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have not announced a day for his return from the 15-day injured list.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it,” Ross said. “But I think the first order of business is, make sure the bullpen went well and he feels good.”

Hendricks (strained right shoulder) worked up to 82 pitches in his last rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Iowa.

“Just excited to get him back,” Hoyer said. “And I love having him around. He’s a perfect teammate. He’s a metronome. And everyone’s excited to have him back and on the mound here.”

Bellinger update

Outfielder Cody Bellinger (bruised left knee) has yet to return to high-intensity baseball activities. He did light drill work in the batting cages in Philadelphia this past weekend and tracked pitches in the bullpen Tuesday, according to the team.

He becomes eligible to be reinstated from the 10-day injured list Friday, but he’ll need to build up baseball activities before returning.

“Hopefully Bellinger is back in 10 days; that’s what we’re shooting for,” Ross said last week, while at the same time cautioning that minimum stints are not the norm.

Latest on Boxberger

Reliever Brad Boxberger (strained right forearm) has been prescribed rest after a follow-up evaluation.

After landing on the 15-day injured list last week, he left the road trip early to return to Chicago and meet with the team’s medical staff.

“I don’t think it’s some super-long thing we’re going to have to deal with or any kind of surgery like that, as of now,” Ross said.

The Latest
Messi was officially named to Argentina’s 29-man roster on Monday for a pair of friendlies before Copa America.
Witnesses saw the baker pull a gun during a brawl at the River North restaurant on Friday and heard what they thought were two or three gunshots. The baker has a valid Firearm Owner Identification card but is not a concealed carry license holder. Police said he will face no charges.
Agnieszka Rydzewski es acusada de solicitar el asesinato de Arturo Cantú, quien presuntamente fue asesinado a tiros a principios de esta semana por Anthony Calderón en un triángulo amoroso en los suburbios del suroeste.
A City Council vote on $70 million in migrant funding highlighted the situation faced by communities like South Shore: Migrants have been resettled in Black communities where people have been fighting for decades for development and resources.
Al dictar la sentencia, la jueza Virginia Kendall le dijo a Janice Weston: “Es muy preocupante. Tuviste unos momentos en los que sabías que era ilegal y pudiste irte”.