Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein guaranteed something would go wrong for the Cubs this postseason.
Their foresight was realized in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series as Cy Young candidate Kyle Hendricks walked off the mound after being struck by a 94 mph line drive.
Hendricks appeared to have been hit in the right forearm by Angel Pagan's comebacker.
Maddon and Cubs trainers jogged out to the mound to check on Hendricks, whose first warm-up pitch sailed way wide of the plate.
Hendricks tried a couple more warm-up pitches to test out his arm, then had a long chat with the Cubs coaching staff before dejectedly walking into the clubhouse after only 52 pitches.
After a breakthrough season that saw him pace the NL in ERA, Hendricks earned the No. 2 role in the Cubs postseason rotation, ahead of 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.
Before he departed, Hendricks had allowed two runs on four hits (including Pagan's comebacker) through 3.2 innings. The Cubs had a 4-2 lead at the time.
The Cubs announced Hendricks was being checked for a right forearm contusion, but X-rays came back negative.
Travis Wood came on to relive Hendricks and promptly struck the first batter he faced out before crushing a homer in the bottom of the fourth to extend the Cubs' lead.
In the second and final update before the first round of voting closes, the Cubs are still all over All-Star Game voting.
It’s basically status quo in the update. Willson Contreras and Javy Baez are still blowing away the field at their positions, with more than twice as many votes as the closest player.
Kris Bryant remains solidly in second at third base. Anthony Rizzo fell to third behind Freddie Freeman of the Braves, but he is still comfortably ahead of Max Muncy of the Dodgers for the top three spot that will advance him to MLB’s new Starters Election.
All three Cubs outfielders are set to advance as well. Albert Almora Jr. moved up from fifth to fourth and Jason Heyward moved up from seventh to fifth. Interestingly, Bryce Harper is the odd man out, for now, sitting 10th among NL outfielders.
That gives the Cubs seven players set to advance to the Starters Election. Voting for this round closes Friday at 3 p.m. CT. The Starters Election features the top three at each individual position and top nine among outfielders.
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Luke Stuckmeyer and producer Eric Strobel welcome Frederic, aka the Cubs' unofficial Director of Morale. Fred takes us through the origins and growth of his fandom and social media persona (1:30), before discussing how Jake Arrieta's dominance announced the Cubs as contenders (7:30) and the now-ubiquitous hard hats in the bleachers (16:00). Finally, Fred and the guys talk about this year's team, including the lack of strikeout stuff on the pitching staff (22:30) and the unicorn that is Javy Baez (30:00).
You can listen to the entire thing right here or in the embedded player below: