MESA, Arizona — Kyle Hendricks looked terrible for the first two innings of Friday’s 5-5 Cubs tie with the Giants.
He hit two batters and gave up five solid hits, including a three-run homer, and one of the outs was a nice running catch by Joc Pederson.
David Ross lifted Hendricks with two out in the second inning, seemingly having seen enough, at least for that inning. Tommy Nance induced a double play to end the inning. But then Hendricks showed up as a pinch-hitter for Nance, grounding out, and then re-entered the game.
You can do that this spring, per this modified spring training rule:
Substitution rules (see Official Baseball Rule 5.10(d)) shall be relaxed, allowing for reentry for all pitchers.
That led to this weird boxscore line:
But after Hendricks re-entered the game to throw the third, he was lights-out, retiring nine hitters in a row. Overall, he struck out four [VIDEO].
The Cubs had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Ian Happ led off with a double and one out later, Joc Pederson homered — helped out by Anthony Rizzo, who was mic’d up [VIDEO].
After the Giants took the 3-2 lead off Hendricks in the top of the second, the Cubs tied the game in the fourth. Jason Heyward tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nico Hoerner.
In the fifth, Javier Baez was on base after a force play when Pederson homered again [VIDEO].
That gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead, and that ball went a long way:
Make it seven spring homers as Joc Pederson hits his second of the day for the #Cubs.— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) March 26, 2021
Estimated distance: 425 feet
Estimated exit velo: 108mph
Description: Towering drive#RussCast pic.twitter.com/GxyKP5IJpM
That one did have a bit of help from the wind, which kicked up for a while on a not-so-nice March day in Arizona — temps only in the mid 60s and a couple of light rainshowers during the game.
The Giants scored a run off Dan Winkler in the seventh. That’s a bit concerning, because the Cubs are counting on Winkler for good middle relief, and he had a poor outing, issuing two walks and hitting two batters. He finally had to be relieved by Jake Jewell, who got out of the seventh but allowed the tying run in the eighth.
Pedro Strop threw the ninth. It was a clean, efficient 1-2-3 inning. His fastball sat around 93 and I agree with this analysis:
1-2-3 ninth from Pedro Strop. Good depth on the breaking ball. Good command of the fastball. Good tilt on his hat.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 26, 2021
Strop walked off the field with a big smile on his face, but then he almost always is smiling. He seems as if he can help this team. It might not be right at the beginning of the season, depending on who else the Cubs want to keep. Strop, in camp on a non-roster deal, could be sent to the alternate site in South Bend for a while to continue to get in game shape. I think he’ll be on the 26-man roster at some point — maybe not right away, but fairly soon.
This was my final game at Sloan Park for this spring. I’ll be hitting the road Saturday to return to Chicago to be there in time for Opening Day. The Cubs did a great job with the 20-25 percent capacity at Sloan Park, enforcing the protocols to keep people safe. Hopefully, the same will be the case at Wrigley Field starting next Thursday.
The Cubs do still have three spring games remaining, two away games and Monday at Sloan Park. Saturday’s contest is a night game against the Reds at Goodyear. Shelby Miller will get the start for the Cubs (it would be Jake Arrieta’s turn, but he likely throw in an intrasquad contest in Mesa). Luis Castillo goes for the Reds. Game time Saturday is 8:05 p.m. CT and this game is audio-only via WLW 700, the Reds flagship station. No TV Saturday — this will be the last Cubs game of 2021 not televised.