Before I recap the Cubs' 8-2 win over the Dodgers Friday night, I want to apologize to Starlin Castro and everyone here for the article I wrote about Castro's errorless streak, which didn't even last one inning into Friday's game.
Lesson learned. Won't be doing that again.
Castro's throwing error -- and let's face it, this wasn't an ordinary error, it was an extremely wild throw into right field on what could have been an inning-ending double-play ball -- allowed the Dodgers to score the first run of the game. On the same play, though, Adrian Gonzalez also tried to score on the bad throw and was thrown out at the plate. Umpire crew chief Jim Wolf initiated a review (different from a manager challenge) and the out call was confirmed.
That was one of four different reviews during the game. Most of them didn't take too long, and one of them resulted in a rare 9-3 putout. Dodgers starter Dan Haren had apparently singled to right field in the third inning, but Nate Schierholtz picked up the ball and fired to Anthony Rizzo, who had to quickly get back to first base. The question was: did Rizzo get his foot on the base before Haren's? First-base umpire Tony Randazzo called Haren safe, but review overturned the call.
Enough of reviewing review, now let's review the Cubs' offense, which picked up almost immediately after the Castro error. Luis Valbuena tied the game in the second inning with his ninth homer, and the Cubs didn't stop hitting, really, until Haren finally left the game in the fifth. Castro made up for his error by going 3-for-5 and scoring three times. Valbuena had a single in addition to his homer. Rizzo doubled and scored twice;. Ryan Sweeney continued his recent hot streak by going 2-for-4 and over his last seven games is 8-for-19 with a double and two home runs. And Kyle Hendricks went 2-for-3 and had his first major-league hit and RBI.
Hendricks also continued pitching very, very well, this time against a strong lineup, and had his second seven-inning outing as a major leaguer. He continued to get hitters to beat the ball into the ground, recording 11 of his 21 outs on ground balls. He issued only one walk and due to yet another error (a bad throw by Welington Castillo), just one of the two runs he allowed was earned. Since Hendricks allowed three runs in his first big-league inning, he has thrown 25⅓ innings and allowed just two more earned runs (0.70 ERA over that span). He still doesn't throw hard. I think I saw 90 on WGN's pitch speed meter maybe once or twice last night. But he moves the ball around the zone effectively and doesn't walk people (seven in 26⅓ total innings, for an overall walk rate of 2.4 per nine innings, and just one in his last 13⅓).
When teams see Hendricks for the second time, they will obviously make adjustments. It'll be up to Hendricks to then make his own adjustments to succeed at the major-league level. He's done that at every minor-league level he's pitched, so I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be able to do that in the big leagues. I enjoy watching him pitch and again give kudos to Theo & Co. for acquiring him in the Ryan Dempster deal.
Justin Grimm and the again-recalled Blake Parker (he's in his fifth different stint with the Cubs this year) finished up the eighth and ninth innings without incident. The win was the Cubs' fourth in their last five games and snapped a Dodgers six-game winning streak in which they had swept two playoff contenders (Giants and Braves).
So, the complaint department is definitely locked up tight and closed this morning, after a really good Cubs performance Friday evening. The Cubs will go for their third straight win Saturday evening, an hour earlier (8:10 CT), with Tsuyoshi Wada facing the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu.