If this is the Cubs’ fairy tale season, then it’s fitting that Kyle Hendricks has been the hero of the story. Maybe it’s too early to call it a fairy tale but in their 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics and sweep of the series, Hendricks delivered another outstanding performance in his potential Cy Young season. Even though he’s only allowed three runs or fewer since May 22nd and he owns the number two spot in ERA with 2.17 behind Clayton Kershaw, it’s the way he goes about getting the outs. When he’s not getting a strikeout, Hendricks forces batters to hit into the infield where it becomes an easy out.
“Give him credit, man,” Maddon said. “A lot of people doing want to give a guy credit enough because he doesn’t throw hard enough, but this guy really knows what he’s doing as a pitcher.”
Hendricks record is now 11-7 but I think the most impressive thing about the young pitcher is that this is he goes deep into the games. Yesterday, he pitched 7 1/3 innings. Last start it was a complete game. It gives the bullpen that break it needs.
“You’re seeing his confidence getting higher and higher,” Anthony Rizzo said. “His stuff is unbelievable.”
It’s just not Hendricks that is getting things done, but the reemergence of Jorge Soler nothing another home run since his return. Two home runs in his last three games. Wow, less than eight weeks to go and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We knew we were just in a long stretch there before the break,” Hendricks said. “We knew we just needed to get a little breather, get a few days under our belt. We knew guys would get their legs back under them and we’d start feeling better. Definitely no panic, but we wanted obviously to play well and establish something out of the break.”
So, while the Cubs are continuing to strike fear in opponents each time they face them and hype is at an all time high on the North Side, it’s also garnering a lot of excitement north of the border. A lot of fans from the west coast shores of British Columbia to the waves of Nova Scotia are hoping for a Cubs/Blue Jays World Series. Yup, not patting myself on the back for this one but since Montreal lost the Expos in 2004, there’s a lot of fans who have shifted allegiance to the Cubs as their National League team of choice. Baseball fans that I’ve talked to who are die hard Jays fanatics often perk their ears when I bring up the Cubs. It’s exciting, I used to get ridiculed for waving the Blue Bear banner but guys like Rizzo have quickly become household names alongside the Josh Donaldson’s and Jose Bautista’s.
The Chicago Cubs. Canada’s “Other” team.