Maybe the Cubs should tell Kyle Hendricks, before every one of his starts, that the bullpen was overtaxed in the days before his outing and he was going to have to step up and go deep into the game.
Kyle has done this before, and more than once — save the pen after a long extra-inning game — and he did it again Monday night, throwing eight strong innings, the first time a Cubs starter has thrown eight this year. The Cubs hitters added to that with a four-homer power display in a 14-2 dismantling of the Marlins, ending their five-game losing streak. In fact, the 14 runs is as many as they scored during that entire losing streak.
Kyle did this without his best stuff, too. Of the first six outs of the game, five were hard-hit balls to the outfield, one of them a terrific diving catch by Ben Zobrist [VIDEO] in the second inning. Zobs also made a nice running grab in the first inning, having apparently borrowed Jason Heyward’s defensive skills for the night.
By the time of that second catch, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead, thanks to Kris Bryant:
Hendricks began to settle down and get groundouts, and then, with two runners on in the third, it was Javy time:
Javier Baez’s 10th home run of the season gave him a major-league leading 32 RBI and gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead. They weren’t done with the home-run parade, either. With Addison Russell on base leading off the fourth, Ian Happ stepped to the plate:
Hendricks was touched up for a run in the fifth, but the Cubs got that back and more in the bottom of the frame. Bryant doubles, his second hit on the night, and Victor Caratini walked. Russell doubled them both in for a 9-1 lead.
Hendricks kept mowing Marlins hitters down; he allowed one more run in the seventh, but Happ got that back, and more, in the bottom of the inning [VIDEO]:
You can’t see it on the video, but the home run, which hit off the top of the ribbon board right in front of us in left field, bounced over the entire seating area and right into the hand of a guy who was standing on the concourse behind us. He wasn’t really even paying attention to the game; he was on his phone when the ball suddenly came at him. Fun times.
Talk about a way to get out of a slump! Happ set a career high with five RBI, and became the seventh Cub to switch-hit homers in a game, and the fourth at Wrigley Field. Here are the other six:
Augie Galan, 6/25/1937 vs. Dodgers
Ellis Burton, 8/1/1963 at Braves
Ellis Burton, 9/7/1964 vs. Braves
Mark Bellhorn, 6/30/2002 at White Sox
Mark Bellhorn, 8/29/2002 at Brewers — fourth inning
Dioner Navarro, 5/29/2013 vs. White Sox
The “fourth inning” notation for Bellhorn is exactly what it appears — he switch-hit home runs in one inning. He and Carlos Baerga (4/8/1993) are the only players to do that.
Happ’s second homer made it 12-2 and the Cubs capped things off with another pair of runs in the eighth on RBI hits from Tommy La Stella and Willson Contreras. With Contreras’ hit, all eight Cubs starting position players had at least one hit in the game, and Bryant had three, giving him a seven-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .290/.333/.742 (9-for-31) with three doubles, a triple and three home runs.
Happ added to his night with this terrific throw [VIDEO] to get Cameron Maybin at second base to end the seventh inning after Maybin had singled in the Marlins’ second run.
La Stella was in the game because Baez left in the seventh with what was described as “right groin tightness.” It probably happened on this play two innings earlier:
Javy stayed in the game, even had two at-bats, and then it apparently tightened up on him. It didn’t look too bad — he walked off the field under his own power and didn’t appear to be limping — and hopefully his departure from the game was just a precaution in a game the Cubs were winning by blowout.
This game was just what the Cubs needed. And after a stretch of 13 straight solo homers by the team dating back to April 20, all four Cubs homers Monday night were with runners on base. The four homers matched a season high, last done April 24 at Cleveland. And Hendricks, after allowing hard contact in the first two innings, wound up with 10 groundouts.
Cory Mazzoni, just recalled to take Luke Farrell’s place as “bullpen guy on the Iowa shuttle,” threw a 1-2-3 ninth in his Cubs debut to finish the game, a satisfying evening with pleasant temperatures and light winds. Can’t ask for much more from a game at Wrigley Field.
As we learned Monday night, Yu Darvish, originally scheduled for Tuesday’s start, was placed on the disabled list with what was termed “parainfluenza virus.” So, Tuesday’s starter will be:
#Cubs Maddon says haven't 100 percent determined who will start Tues. May be a bullpen day— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 8, 2018
Or, it will be:
#Cubs expected to go with Jen-Ho Tseng on Tue or bullpen day— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 8, 2018
I’d bet on Tseng, who was scheduled to start for Iowa Monday but was pulled from that start. Tseng last started May 2, so he’d be well-rested for a start Tuesday evening. We’ll know more this afternoon, I’d think.
Jose Urena, who the Cubs touched up for three home runs on Opening Day, will go for the Marlins Tuesday evening. Now that should get Cubs hitters ready for perhaps another homer barrage. Game time Tuesday night is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage is via NBC Sports Chicago.