Things felt like they were starting to spin out of control for the Cubs this weekend as they lost three straight games to the second-place Cardinals and looked bad doing it. Fortunately for the home team, the calm, capable, right arm of Kyle Hendricks was there to restore order Monday.
Hendricks was very sharp early, pitching to contact with the wind blowing in and keeping his pitch count low. Jason Kipnis singled home another run in the 4th inning off of young Cardinals starter Johan Oviedo and it felt as if the game was already well in hand by that point.
A rare Kolten Wong throwing error put men on second and third with no one out in the 5th. Designated hitter Willson Contreras made that error hurt by singling home two runs and giving his team a 5-0 advantage.
Why the Cubs Won
Hendricks played stopper and had a huge game, not only earning the win, but also saving the overused bullpen. It was nice to see Cubs hitters make the Cardinals pay for their mistakes at the plate.
Three singles in the 7th inning pushed St. Louis’s only run across the plate Monday and Matt Carpenter faced Hendricks with two on and one out. Hendricks coaxed Carpenter to hit into a slickly-turned 4-6-3 double play to escape the jam.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks continues his excellent work at Wrigley Field: 8 IP, 1 R, 7 H, 4 K, and 0 BB.
- Happ walked three times in addition to his double.
- Javy Báez had three hits, two of which never left the infield. But the box score doesn’t care and it’s something to build on.
- Speaking of looking for stuff to build on, Kris Bryant had two more hits as well.
This was a big game for the Cubs. Probably their biggest of the season so far. Losing four of five would have meant clinging to a precarious 0.5 game lead, so everyone now gets at least a day to breathe easier.