The Chicago Cubs are good, damn good. The Los Angeles Dodgers did’t stand a chance against a 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the beloved North Siders. In a four home run outing, the Cubs seemed to take shots at will and Anthony Rizzo ended a drought with a solo shot in the eighth inning.
That’s right, the much talented but often overlooked fill in player had an outstanding game. He took care of the ball on both sides of the plate providing a two run rocket and could have been a one man show defensively.
“I would love to play every day, but if it’s not my time, it’s somebody else’s, and I’ll be ready to come in the game if needed,” Baez said.
The one time highly touted prospect of 2011 has seen his playing time diminished due to the Cubs just being stacked and he’s had some discipline problems at the plate. If the Cubs only use his role as a utility guy, then the 2011 ninth round pick will go down as one of the great ones.
“This is just the beginning for him,” Maddon said. “I like the fact that when he’s not playing, he’s ready to play. I go down and bump fists before the game, and he’s always right here. He’s in the moment. I can see in his face he’s happy, he gets it and he knows his time is coming.”
The player who’s time is now is another kid named Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks. He’s really come into his own this year and right now holds a 4-4 record, which might not seem like the most intimidating record, but when it’s in the five spot, that’s an incredible number.
Although not a perfect outing, Hendricks got the job done in eight innings of work striking out six batters. According to Fangraphs, Hendricks has something in common with Clayton Kershaw.
“He is really learning his craft,” Maddon said. “Of course he can get better. There are other things he will be able to learn how to do as he gains experience. Just the way he pitched right now, with the weapons he has, hitters don’t like that. There is a lot of movement. There is a lot of late movement. The hitters are doing a lot of guessing as to what he is going to do next. His splits when you break down his numbers, he has been really good against right-handed hitting.”
Like a professor teaching the students a lesson, I’m beginning to believe that Hendricks will go down in history as one of those pitchers who will be ranked,”Most Underrated”
“My mechanics went to wayside last year,” Hendricks said. “I lost some trust. Now I have the right mental attitude late in games, simplifying instead of letting too much take over.”