Cubs

Kyle Hendricks continues his torrid stretch, pulls out all the stops in win over Reds

Kyle Hendricks continues his torrid stretch, pulls out all the stops in win over Reds

Following the Cubs’ 3-1 win over the Reds on Tuesday, NBC Sports Chicago’s David DeJesus posed the following question.

“What isn’t Kyle Hendricks good at?” DeJesus said on Cubs Postgame Live.

DeJesus’ question may have come off as a joke to some, but it should carry some serious weight following Hendricks latest outing. Not only did the 29-year-old pitch another gem, but he delivered one of the best offensive nights by a Cubs pitcher in recent memory.

Hendricks pitched into the ninth inning, getting pulled after allowing a leadoff walk to Reds outfielder Nick Senzel. He allowed just one run (a Joey Votto solo home run) on three hits, walking one batter compared to seven strikeouts.

Tuesday’s outing shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for anyone, as Hendricks has been on fire over the last month or so. The right-hander has pitched at least eight innings in three-straight starts, all while allowing a run or less along with one or zero walks. Before tonight, no Cubs pitcher had done that since Mike Krukow, who accomplished it in September 1981.

Hendricks’ dominance on the mound stretches further back than that, however. On April 19 against the Diamondbacks, he pitched seven shutout innings, racking up 11 strikeouts. There is one bad start sandwiched in between that game and his current stretch — April 26: five innings, seven earned runs — but outside from that, Hendricks has been downright dominant.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Hendricks was a force at the plate on Tuesday as well. He drove in two of the Cubs’ three runs with a second inning double, finishing the night 3-for-4.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised by Hendricks’ prowess at the plate, though. He now has the most multi-hit games by a Cubs pitcher since 2012 and became the first Cubs pitcher with a three-hit game since Carlos Zambrano in 2011.

When you’re hot, you’re hot. And if one thing is certain, it's that Hendricks is on fire right now. 

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The streak is over: Cubs win on neutral site to take first road series since May

The streak is over: Cubs win on neutral site to take first road series since May

Of course it happened this way.

After going more than three months without winning a series away from Wrigley Field, the Cubs exorcised their demons on Sunday. With their 7-1 win over the Pirates, the North Siders secured their first road series win since May 17-19 against the Nationals.

It only makes sense that the losing streak ended in such an unorthodox fashion, as there were no good explanations for why it persisted to begin with. After playing games Friday and Saturday at the Pirates’ home – PNC Park – Sunday’s series finale shifted to Bowman Field in Williamsport, PA, the city which hosts the Little League World Series.

The obvious explanation for the Cubs’ road woes is that they’ve pitched and hit better at Wrigley Field than elsewhere this season. How the team went 0-10-2 in road series since mid-May, not securing just one series win, is beyond any logical explanation, however.

That’s in the past now, and the Cubs will take the road series win, unorthodox or not. Sure, it came against the Pirates, who are now just 7-27 since the All-Star break. But Sunday’s game still was played outside of Wrigley Field, where the Cubs are now just 25-39 away from this season.

With the push for the postseason heating up, every win is important, and the Cubs can now move forward with a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.

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Javier Báez voted favorite MLB player by Little Leaguers

Javier Báez voted favorite MLB player by Little Leaguers

Seemingly day in and day out, Javier Báez does something on the baseball field that catches one's attention.

From his electric baserunning to his unbelievable tags, Báez is one of, if not the most, entertaining players in baseball. His flashiness on the field hasn't gone unnoticed by the next generation of baseball players, either.

Little League polled the Little League World Series players on their favorite MLB players. Sunday, MLB announced that Báez was ranked No. 1, ahead of Angels outfielder Mike Trout (2) and Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (3).

Baez's flair carried over to the Little League Classic on Sunday. The Cubs shortstop made an impressive play on a groundball hit up the middle, also making friends with the Little League players in attendance.

Keep being yourself, Javy.

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