The Chicago Cubs began their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds with a 3–1 victory. The MVP of this game was Kyle Hendricks as he provided another dominating performance on the mound, and also got fantastic results at the plate as well.
This win puts the Cubs at a 25–14 record, and they now have the best record in the National League (only the Houston Astros have a better winning percentage). If the Milwaukee Brewers win their game on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, that will give the Cubs a 2 1/2 game lead in the NL Central, and the St. Louis Cardinals will be 3 1/2 games out of first if they win their game as well.
Here is how it went down:
We will start off with the pitching review today, as Kyle Hendricks provided another masterful performance on the mound in this one. He finished the game with a final line of 3 H, 1 ER, and a 7:1 K:BB over 8+ IP (he was pulled in the ninth inning after issuing a walk to the lead off hitter).
The bullpen held strong after Hendricks was pulled. Left-hander Kyle Ryan got the only batter he faced — Reds first baseman Joey Votto — to fly out to shallow left field, and side-slinger Steve Cishek came on to record the final two outs and lock down his third save of the season. Cishek has been hot lately as well, as he has not allowed a run to score since April 24 (nine appearances and 10 IP ago).
Hendricks appears to finally be in the same form he was back in 2016, when he won the ERA title with a 2.13 mark and added a 0.98 WHIP to go along with it. This is the third consecutive outing in which he has completed at least eight innings of work, and in that span he has allowed just 2 R (1 ER), 12 H, and a stellar 17:1 K:BB rate. If Hendricks can maintain this impressive pace he has been on, it will be a big plus for this team as they look to build on their now-strong season.
Not only did Hendricks dominate on the mound, he also got it done at the plate as well. He went 3-for-4 on the day (his first career 3-hit game) with two singles, one double, and two RBI. The one out he recorded was no cake walk either, as he hit a hard line drive that went right at the second baseman for a line out.
His two RBI came in the second inning when he scorched a fly ball over the head of Reds center fielder Nick Senzel, bringing home both Daniel Descalso and Albert Almora. The Cubs’ third run of the game came in the top of the fifth inning, as Kris Bryant scored on a sacrifice fly by Willson Contreras.
Including Hendricks’ three knocks, the Cubs offense recorded a total of 11 hits on the day. They also received a three-hit performance from Bryant (who filled in at first base again today), and Javier Baez provided two hits of his own.
They had some rough spots in their game today as they struck out 11 times and drew just one walk (by Jason Heyward), but they were able to work around that and pull out the victory because of the gem provided by Hendricks.
The Cubs have two games remaining in this series against the Reds, both of them scheduled for a 5:40 PM CT start time. Wednesday’s game will feature a pitching matchup of Yu Darvish (5.40 ERA, 1.72 WHIP) against Sonny Gray (4.15 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), and Thursday’s series finale will see Jose Quintana (3.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) and Luis Castillo (1.76 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) toe the rubber for their respective teams.
After Thursday’s game is over, the Cubs will head to our nation’s capital for a three-game series against the Washington Nationals over the weekend.