Cubs Blog

Bullpen Session 5.4.19

2nd; -1.5
Streak: W W W W W

STL 0 – CHC 4
Both clubs being competitive at the same time makes this series so fun. Kyle Hendricks throwing a “Maddux” made it memorable.

Hendricks’s counterpart, Jack Flaherty, was no match for the Cubs soft-tossing righty. Anthony Rizzo homered off Flaherty in the third (Rizzo’s third straight game with a HR) following back-to-back walks to Daniel Descalso and Kris Bryant to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Javy Báez added an RBI single in the seventh to make it 4-0 while Hendricks put the finishing touches on his masterpiece.

The Cubs defense made several strong plays to support Hendricks: Báez cut down Paul DeJong with a long throw from deep short; Bryant made a backhanded stab at third to rob Marcell Ozuna of extra bases; and Jason Heyward took a hit away from Jose Martinez with a sliding catch in center.

St. Louis was shutout for the first time this season.

The Cubs have won five straight to move a season-high five games above .500.

Friday’s time of game (2:28) was the second fastest this season:
(at MIA April 17 – 2:25).

9.0 IP — 0 R, 4 H — 0 BB, 3 K

81 pitches — 63 strikes (77%) —18 balls

4 hits allowed — all singles

Fastest pitch: 88.3 mph

Top five batters in the Cards lineup:
0-4 – Carpenter
0-4 – Goldschmidt
0-4 – DeJong
0-3 – Ozuna
0-3 – Martinez

STL with RISP: 0-for-1

And for good measure, Hendricks picked Harrison Bader off first.

The outing marked Hendricks’s third career shutout and fourth career complete game.

It was the fewest pitches thrown by a Cub in a shutout since Jon Lieber turned the trick against the Reds on 78 pitches on May 24, 2001.

Lieber goes the distance allowing one hit (Juan Castro 1-for-2) as the Cubs shutout the Reds 3-0 at Wrigley in a game that took 1:48 minutes.
3 starts at home: 0.86 ERA
3 starts on the road: 8.78 ERA

The Cubs have 6 shutouts this season … have shut out their opponent in back-to-back games for the second time this year … (12-1) when they get a quality start … Hendricks is one of only 7 starters to throw a complete game this year.

Dexter Fowler had missed the previous three games due to flu-like symptoms; he led off the ninth with a pinch-hit single.

NEXT – Sat. vs. STL, 3:05 p.m. CT
Michael Wacha (2-0, 4.78 ERA)
Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.02)

Cubs Blog


If spring training is the soft opening to the baseball season, Opening Day is the hard launch. That’s why it peeves me to hear poor performance in April excused with cries of “it’s early.”

Sunrise is early.
Christmas music in November is early.
Spring training is early.

Regular season baseball is never early. Not in March. Not in April. Not ever. A win today counts the same as a win tomorrow. Which is to say, wins carry no shelf life; they’re evergreen—not milk.

I need only to remind you the Cubs lost the division flag by a single victory last season. One more win, be it any month last season, and there’s no division tiebreaker loss, no wild card loss, no one-and-done in the postseason. We’ll never know what might have been last year, but it serves to remind us that early excuses likely brings an early fate.

Cubs Blog

Spring Things

The two things I concern myself with during Cubs spring training:

  • 1) Major injuries to key players.
  • 2) The Opening Day roster.

Aside from a few minor bumps, bruises, and blisters, there are, thankfully, no serious injuries to key players. The final two roster spots appear to be filled by outfielder Mark Zagunis, filling the void created by Ian Happ’s assignment to Triple-A, and veteran lefty Randy Rosario to round out the bullpen. As for the the rest of spring training, make of it what you will.

When it comes to spring statistics and spring standings, I have more faith in the five-day weather forecast. To use either spring marker as a credible indicator of regular season performance is a fool’s errand. The 2016 Cubs finished the Cactus League schedule (11-19) with a minus run differential. Joe Mather and Brett Jackson, among countless others over the years, were March All-Stars. So until Tyler Chatwood shows he can command the strike zone in a meaningful game I literally don’t care how he, or any Cub, has fared statistically this spring. When the bell rings Thursday in Texas let the real counting begin.

Cubs Blog

First Pitch

Welcome to Bullpen Brian. I’m excited to reboot the site after a long hibernation. To learn more about this blog click the hamburger button in the top left corner to find the About page. As the venerable Pat Hughes would say, “Fasten those seat belts, Cubs fans.” The 2019 roller coaster departs Thursday. And away we go…