The Daily CCO: Hendricks Continues Impressive Start and Other Cubs News

Kyle Hendricks not only followed Jake Arrieta’s very good outing Monday night, but he topped it. Hendricks tossed 7 1/3 innings of shutout baseball against a very good Brewers offense. Hendricks worked quickly, kept the ball down and threw strikes.

Hendricks has received praise for his preparation between starts and his ability to execute a game plan.

After Tuesday’s game, Kyle Hendricks said the scouting reports he receives in the majors helps and “make it much easier just to follow that.”

According to ESPN Chicago, the front office thought Hendricks would benefit from the additional information big leaguers have access to that is not available in the minors. Theo Epstein recently said, “We speculated he might take it to another level when he got to the big leagues because he uses all the tools available to him as well as anybody. We have video in the minor league, but we don’t have this much video. We have scouting reports in the minor leagues, but we don’t have them this extensive. He just attacks the video, attacks the scouting reports. It’s a huge weapon for him.”

Kyle Hendricks posted his fifth straight quality start Tuesday night and has limited the Cardinals, Dodgers, Rockies and Brewers to five runs on 23 hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings over that span (1.57 ERA, 0.91 WHIP).

Junior Lake

Questions are being asked, where is Junior Lake and why isn’t he playing? A lot has been made of late that Lake is not seeing playing time and if he’s not playing in the majors, why not send him to Iowa to receive regular at bats. Burning an option on Lake this late in the minor league season would not benefit the team moving forward and Lake can play winter ball to make up some of the at bats he’s missed this season.

PrintLake has played in only 15 games since the break and hit .114/.133/.159 in 19 game in July with a triple, no walks and 13 strikeouts. In the 15 games since the break, Lake is hitting .226/.250/.290 in 31 at bats. The last time Lake worked a walk was June 24.

According to a report from Tony Andracki, Lake “has been the odd man out” and Rick Renteria said the team is “going to continue to see where we can get him some at bats. Obviously, he hasn’t had many here over the last week, but we will continue to find ways.”

Renteria told the beat writers Lake has “been working very hard on his mechanical approach” and he will keep trying to find ways to get Lake into the lineup.

News and Notes

After the Cubs beat the Brewers Tuesday night, Aramis Ramirez said, “We’ve seen [Javier] Baez, [Anthony] Rizzo, [Starlin] Castro, some young power arms out of the bullpen. They’ve got some player there. They’re not that far away.”

Bill Mueller is taking the Cubs strikeouts in stride according to a report from Carrie Muskat.

When Starlin Castro doubled to lead-off the fourth inning, he had a noticeable limp jogging from first to second. Castro remained the game, moved up third on Luis Valbuena’s bunt and scored on Arismendy Alcantara’s single. Castro said he twisted his left knee running to first in Monday’s game and he felt okay following Tuesday’s game when he spoke with the beat writers.

Starlin Castro leads all National League shortstops in hits (132) this season.

Justin Ruggiano left Tuesday’s game with leg fatigue. Ruggiano is not expected to miss any time.

The Cubs starting staff has posted six quality starts in the last six games with a 1.99 ERA during that span.

Offense is at a premium in baseball and Bruce Levine spoke with Aramis Ramirez about strikeouts and the way the game has changed since he was a rookie.

The Cubs have a chance to be spoilers down the stretch according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

This Day In Cubstory

2012 – Cubs signed free agent Seth McClung

2004 – Cubs acquired Jon Connolly and Eric Eckenstahler from the Tigers for Felix Sanchez

1987 – Billy Williams joined Ernie Banks as the only two players to have their uniform number retired by the Cubs … No. 26. Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams played 16 of the 18 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Cubs.

1986 – Cubs traded George Frazier, Ray Fontenot and Julius McDougal to the Twins for Ron Davis and Dewayne Coleman

1985 – Cubs released Larry Bowa

1979 – Lou Brock collected the 3,000th hit of his career off the Cubs Dennis Lamp

1979 – Corey Patterson, born

1977 – Will Ohman, born

1973 – Cubs purchased Rico Carty from the Rangers

1959 – Cubs and Giants set a record, at the time, for the longest nine-inning game played, three hours and 50 minutes. The Cubs beat the Giants 20-9 at Wrigley after pounding out 19 hits that included five home runs. Rookie George Altman had five hits in six at bats, Al Dark hit a grand slam, Dale Lang a pinch-hit homer and Tony Taylor went deep as well.

1922 – Charlie Hollocher hit three triples in the Cubs 16-5 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field

1913 – Cubs traded Lew Richie to Kansas City for Hippo Vaughn

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Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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  • Tom U

    Junior Lake has become a regular in the Dominican Winter League, and most likely will be a starter for some club this winter.

    • BillyFinT

      Hopefully, a Winter club working with the Cubs. Though I can see them trade him away…

  • BillyFinT

    What a shame. Lake should be playing regularly, whether at Wrigley or Iowa. He’s an exciting player to watch. He struggled. Maybe he’s another guy who needs time to adjust at each level. “Time” means playing time as well. Look at that Crew guy Carlo Gomez. When he started his ML career with the Twins, boy, he was just electric! Energy all over the field. It brought fans joy! But he couldn’t hit. Well, it took him five seasons to figure out Major League pitching. Lake might be able do that, or not. But not giving him a full season of play is not helping.

    Just realized this is deja-vu, I said the same about Felix Pie half way into his rookie season, and Piniella benched him eternally.

    • Chris K.

      I’m all about giving young players at bats for development sake, but Lake has been pretty awful the past few months. He’s been simply out hit by veterans Coghlan, Ruggiano and even Sweeney. What do you want Renteria to do? Trot him out there because he needs at bats even though he’s been an automatic out? With Alcantara up and Soler and Bryant close behind, where is Lake going to play moving forward?

      He kind of has to get used to being a part time player, because that’s what he’ll be on this team moving forward. He’s had his chance and he’s squandered it.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Pie never turned out to live up to his hype. But he had a servicable MLB career for a few years. He hit .274 in 2012, but currently is in Korea.

      • BillyFinT

        Too much expectations on prospect to perform once called up, players don’t always adjust as quickly as the manager want. If in another organization, Pie might have built better tools and confidence. The Cubs of the last regime did the wrong thing.

    • Denver Mike

      Lake should not by any means be playing regularly at Wrigley, and as Neil noted it makes no sense to waste his last option on sending him down to AAA for 2 weeks. Maybe if he showed any signs of improvement in the last 2 years he would get a longer leash, but he hasn’t. He has zero pitch recognition skills, which leads to no plate discipline at all. I don’t think you need to play in game action every day to learn how to pick up the spin on a breaking ball, or stop swinging at pitches that bounce in front of home plate. I’ve always felt those skills are developed in practice, and refined during the games. To trot him out there every day just puts a giant hole in the middle of the lineup, and begins to affect the morale and motivation of the other 8 guys who have to bat around him every day.

      • BillyFinT

        From a team management p.o.v, I understand why the option is important: flexibility in case of need. From a player development p.o.v, I see a 24 years old who should be sent to the Minor to refine his tools. The ML 25-man is not where you can do so. He needs playing time, like many others before him.

    • paCubsFan23

      What you’re saying makes sense, but what I think separates Gomez from Lake is that Gomez is an all-world defender in CF, which is a premium defensive position, as well as plus speed. Those two factors helped make up for the lack of hitting early in his career. Lake is average at best in the OF and isn’t a 30+ SB threat so he needs to rely on his hit tool more so than Gomez did.

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  • stu_studdly

    IMO, Lake seems to lack a lot of basic fundamentals and has not improved in any area all season. I cringe every time he prepares to catch a ball (much like Soriano around 2010). I’m not writing him off yet but I wouldn’t miss him either.