Kyle Hendricks made the best start of his big league career Monday night in St. Louis. Hendricks delivered a masterful performance on the road against his team’s biggest rival in a game the Cardinals desperately needed to win. The Cubs beat the Cardinals 4-1. Hendricks may have two complete game shutouts on his resume, but Monday’s performance against the Cardinals topped them all. It was special in what has been an just excellent season.
Hendricks faced one over the minimum through eight innings and took a no-hitter into the ninth. Three pitches in he hung a changeup to Jeremy Hazelbaker that left the yard. Hendricks was disappointed in not completing a no-hitter. He pointed out the Cubs won the game and that’s all that really matters.
Hendricks admitted that because he pitches to contact he did not think he would ever get that close to a no-hitter. Hendricks started thinking about it in the fifth inning, especially when his teammates got quiet and started leaving him alone.
Hendricks hung a changeup to Hazelbaker. He made a mistake and he knew it as soon as the ball left his hand. Hendricks left the ball up and he got it. Hendricks admitted if he was going to lose a no-hitter he would rather it happen on a home run than a cheap hit.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Hendricks threw his changeup 38 percent of the time, second-highest rate in a start during his career. The Cardinals were 0-for-10 against his change of pace until the ninth inning. Hendricks threw 61.5 percent of his pitches across the lower third of the plate and below, according to Buster Olney, second-highest rate of the season and he induced seven groundball outs.
During an interview Monday afternoon on MLB Network Radio before the game, Jason Hammel talked about Hendricks’ season. Hendricks’ nickname is ‘The Professor’ but the players call him ‘Diet Mad Dog’ because he works “the same velocity as Greg Maddux, understands the game and makes hitters look silly.”
And Maddon told the beat writers before Hendricks took the mound, “This year theory and reality have come together.”
Miguel Montero said that Hendricks is “the most-prepared pitcher he’s ever worked with” and caught in his career. Montero called Hendricks a pitcher that is fun to watch. Hendricks located his fastball and kept the hitters off balance. Montero said it was an honor to catch him Monday but admitted he was devastated Hendricks could not complete a no-hitter.
Kyle Hendricks is 15-7 with a 2.03 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 3.38 FIP. In 173 innings over 28 games, 27 starts, Hendricks has allowed 47 runs, 39 earned, on 123 hits with 43 walks and 152 strikeouts. Hendricks is 9-1 in 14 games, 13 starts, at Wrigley with a 1.21 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. On the road, Hendricks is 6-6 in 14 starts with a 2.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Hendricks leads baseball in ERA (2.03) and home ERA (1.21). Since the break is where the numbers just get ridiculous …
Hendricks is 8-1 in his last 11 starts with a 1.33 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. Hendricks has allowed 11 runs on 48 hits with 16 walks and 66 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. From August 1 through Monday’s gem against the Cardinals, Hendricks is 6-0 in eight starts with a 1.27 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Hendricks has given up eight runs on 32 hits with 11 walks and 49 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings.
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from The Sun-Times
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from ESPN
- Report from Bob Nightengale
Cubs Postseason Roster
Jed Hoyer fielded questions about a possible Cubs’ playoff roster before Monday’s game with the Cardinals. Hoyer shot down the reports of Jon Lester being lined up to start game one of the NLDS. According to Bruce Miles, the “Cubs are in the top of the first inning when talking about makeup of postseason roster.”
“We haven’t made any decisions, nor do I think we’ll make any all that soon,” Hoyer said. “We have some time to make those decisions, and some of the movements we’ve made with the rotation the last few days aren’t linked at all to the way things could line up later on. It’s just trying to get guys the right rest, right matchups.”
News and Notes
• According to the Tribune, Joe Maddon got his money’s worth in ejection on Monday night. Comcast SportsNet reported furious at Joe West, Joe Maddon loses it after Kyle Hendricks loses no-hitter for Cubs. Maddon said it was inappropriate for Joe West to upstage Hendricks the way he did in the ninth inning.
• Kerry Wood voiced his displeasure with Joe West after Kyle Hendricks’ gem and the Cubs win over the Cardinals.
• MLB Gameday glitch gives Statcast numbers on Joe Maddon’s literal ejection.
• The Sun-Times reported the Cubs look to bounce Cardinals before October rematch … and play spoiler with their division rival.
• FanGraphs: The Elite Skill You Won’t Find on Javy Baez’s Scouting Report
• Joe Maddon told the beat writers Monday that he still expects Pedro Strop to come off the DL with enough time left in the regular season to make “a handful of appearances.” From all indications, Strop has not had any other setbacks and should be ready to come off the DL very soon.
• Click here to watch Jed Hoyer talk about the development of the Cubs’ young players this season.
• As Monday night’s game progressed, Christopher Kamka did the research and it has been 44 years since the last time the Cubs had two pitchers throw a no-hitter in the same season. Burt Hooton (April 16) and Milt Pappas (Sept. 2) pitched no hitters in 1972.
• Five pitchers have carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning this season … Jake Arrieta is the only one to complete a no-no, April 21 in Cincinnati.
And last, but not least, the new sod at Wrigley Field is looking good according to the Cubs (click here for photo).
This Day in Cubstory
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home runs No. 61 and 62 in the Cubs 11-10 victory over the Brewers in 10 innings. Sosa tied Mark McGwire for the MLB lead in home runs. Sosa passed Ted Kluszewski (Reds, Crosley Field in 1954) for the most home runs in a season in a single park. Sosa hit numbers 34 and 35 at Wrigley Field. Sosa also tied Ralph Kiner’s NL single-season record with his 10th multi-homer game of the season.
1976 – Wade Miller, born
1972 – Roberto Clemente hit the last regular season homer of his career off Ferguson Jenkins at Wrigley Field.
1960 – Eighteen-year old OF Danny Murphy became the youngest player in Cubs history to hit a home run. Murphy smacked a three-run homer off Bob Purkey. The Cubs lost 8-6 to the Reds in Cincinnati.
1942 – Shortstop Lennie Merullo made four errors in the second inning in the second game of a doubleheader against Boston. His son is born later in the day and was named “Boots”.
1931 – The Cubs beat the Braves 11-7 at Wrigley Field when player-manager Rogers Hornsby cracked a pinch-hit grand slam in the 11th inning, the first pinch-hit extra inning grand slam in Major League history
1906 – Mordecai ‘Three-Finger’ Brown won his 11th straight games in a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals.
1902 – Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance lineup at short, second and first base for the first time. Germany Schafer played third and the Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-0.