The Rundown: Hendricks Mows Down Padres, Suzuki Day-to-Day, Schwindel Returns, Mets and Yankees First to 20 Wins

“Who is the coolest guy, what is what I am?”  – Charlie Rich, Mohair Sam

Just when the Cubs seemed like they were steaming toward a losing streak that might have reached double digits, Kyle Hendricks slammed the brakes on the Padres to open a six-game road trip with a 6-0 win. The Professor dominated San Diego over 8.2 innings with seven strikeouts against a single walk. The best the Padres could muster against Hendricks was three singles.

That’s par for the course for Chicago’s top starter, at least when it comes to playing the Friars. Hendricks is now 8-2 lifetime against San Diego, including 5-1 at Petco Park. Though the outing may have served as a trade deadline audition, the Mission Viejo native showed he can still provide value to a Cubs’ rotation that needs to turn things around quickly. Hendricks has been a stopper his whole career, and last night proved he’s still up to the task when needed.

If Wade Miley can shut down the Padres tonight, the Cubs could be looking at back-to-back wins for the first time since April 8-9. San Diego has been shut out in two of three games, and only a dramatic, two-out, three-run homer by Jorge Alfaro on Mother’s Day prevented the trifecta. Miley, who was very effective in his May 5 rehab start with Triple-A Iowa, will be making his Cubs debut tonight after being sidelined since spring training with left elbow inflammation.

The Cubs were no offensive juggernaut themselves last night, though the team managed 11 knocks against MacKenzie Gore and three relievers. Ian Happ drove in two runs and had a double, one of Chicago’s two extra-base hits. Seiya Suzuki, who has been mired in a terrible slump for the better part of two weeks, also had a double. Jason Heyward was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.

The win helped the Cubs keep pace with Cincinnati for last place in the NL Central. The Reds beat the Brewers for their third win in four games, and trail Chicago by 4.5 games. The only thing that would have made last night’s victory any sweeter would have been a complete game by Hendricks, but a six-pitch walk to Jake Cronenworth in the bottom of the 9th pretty much ended his night. Scott Effross came in to register the final out after Hendricks threw his 116th pitch.

The Cubs and Padres have been close to a deal in trade talks going back to last year. Hendricks might be a nice addition for San Diego as a change-of-pace rotation option. Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins would love to acquire a hard-throwing starter or two, and a package of Hendricks and Willson Contreras could net Chicago a couple of farm system studs. That’s just speculation on my part, though moves are undoubtedly coming in the next 2-to-3 months.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

The Guardians are quickly becoming the “Animal House” of baseball, and I’m here for the entire amped-up ride.

Climbing the Ladder

“I pushed my soul into a deep dark hole and then I followed it in. I watched myself crawling out as I was crawling in.” – Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

First Frank Schwindel was optioned, then he was recalled, but still went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and looks completely lost at the plate. His BA dropped to .202 and he’s slugging .298. Nick Madrigal is still struggling, too. With a 3-for-4 night batting leadoff, Contreras remains the team’s most consistent hitter.

The Cubs apparently flew Schwindel in coach to San Diego before yesterday’s game, and he got stuck with a middle seat. No wonder his struggles continued.

  • Games Played: 28
  • Total Plate Appearances: 1,025
  • Total Strikeouts: 246
  • Strikeout Rate: 24%
  • Team Batting Average: .235

How About That!

The newest Pirates star is Taft H.S. graduate Jack Suwinski, recently called up from Double-A Altoona. He hit his first career home run last night. Mike Ditka would be proud.

Gerardo Parra has officially retired and will join the Nationals as a special assistant to GM Mike Rizzo.

Pittsburgh starter José Quintana earned a win Monday night, his first since September 5, 2019. The Pirates finally got their first win from a starter in their 28th game, a major league record to begin a season. The old mark was set by the Orioles in 1988 when they started 0-21.

I missed this yesterday among the Mother’s Day accolades, but Cardinals rookie Juan Yepez belted his first career home run after making a promise to his mom that he would do just that.

The Yankees and Mets are the first two MLB teams to reach 20 wins. Is that the Death Star I see hovering over Gotham?

The Blue Jays deploy a four-man outfield more than any other team in baseball and will continue to do so as long as the rules allow it. Through 30 games, they’ve used a four-man outfield for 270 pitches across 76 plate appearances against nine different hitters on six different teams.

In an MLB first, the Dodgers and Giants will both wear Pride Day hats when the two teams meet on June 11.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said that the walk-off home run Gleyber Torres hit on Sunday came in the MLB equivalent of a Little League stadium.

Rob Manfred said he wants consistency among the league’s baseballs. Sure he does.

Monday’s Three Stars

  1. Josh Naylor – The Guardians’ first baseman laid down a monster last night, going 3-for-5 with two home runs and eight RBI – all coming in the 8th inning or later – as Cleveland dropped the White Sox 12-9 in 11 innings.
  2. Shohei Ohtani | Mike Trout – The Angels’ dynamic duo combined to go 5-for-7 with three dingers and eight RBI in an 11-3 win over the Rays. Don’t hold your breath, but Los Angeles looks like a genuine threat to win the AL West.
  3. Nestor Cortes – The Yankees starter took a no-hit bid into the 7th inning before Eli White looped a single, and registered 11 punchouts in a 1-0 win over the Rangers. Anthony Rizzo provided a game-winning double in the eighth, his 22nd RBI of the season.

Extra Innings

Heyward flashing the cowhide!

They Said It

  • “You never really want to come out no matter when it is. I also didn’t realize how high my pitch count was so it’s just good to see some of the results from the good pitches. Can’t be the focus, I have to establish what I’ve been doing and carry it over to the next start.” – Hendricks
  • “I had Scotty [Effross] up for Manny Machado, give [Hendricks] three batters. If he walks a batter, anybody gets on, if I let him face Machado, and Machado gets on, now I’ve got a sidearmer coming on. Then I’ve got to let him go, and then he’s into the 130s and I’m not going to let him do that. The number’s already getting pretty high. I thought he did a spectacular job and we needed that.”David Ross
  • “Not necessarily a wake-up call or anything like that, but I knew I wasn’t playing well. Now it’s time to get going. I think I can definitely help this offense and once I start rolling, we’ll start putting some more runs up and it’s gonna help everybody out.” – Schwindel
  • “Small ballpark, that’s an easy out in 99 percent of ballparks. … [Torres] just happened to hit it in a little league [stadium] to right field.” – Woodward

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

One Headlight by The Wallflowers

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