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Cubs lose to Brewers and Diamondbacks; Kyle Hendricks rocked again

The Professor did not have a good spring.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs lost a pair of games Friday afternoon. The one I paid attention to was a 5-3 loss to the Brewers, because that was on TV. The one that’s more important was a 6-0 loss to the Diamondbacks, and I’ll get to that. Yes, I’m going to bury the lede. First up, the game vs. Milwaukee.

Keegan Thompson was sailing along... well, for five outs, anyway, until Rowdy Tellez blasted a home run with two out in the second inning. Thompson did have five strikeouts, which is good. Here he is striking out Andrew McCutchen in the second [VIDEO].

Adrian Sampson served up a home run ball to Pedro Severino with a man on in the fifth and wound up giving up two more runs in the inning. Both of these pitchers are likely headed to the Iowa rotation.

Michael Hermosillo had another hit in this game and it would seem he’s got a really good chance to make the Opening Day roster.

The Cubs scored a run in the sixth on an error by Brewers third baseman Freddy Zamora and a second run on an infield out.

Ethan Roberts threw a scoreless sixth and got the first out of the seventh before being replaced by Manuel Rodriguez, who allowed a baserunner but got out of the inning with a double play.

Alexander Canario homered in the ninth for the Cubs’ third run:

Brewers shortstop Willy Adames left this game early with an injury. Hope he’s OK. Never good for the game when star players like this get hurt.

I know of the game vs. the Diamondbacks only from the boxscore, so here’s a summary of important performances in that game.

The big story is that Kyle Hendricks got lit up again. After throwing two good innings, he allowed a home run to Daulton Varsho in the third, and then three more homers in the fourth (Christian Walker, Pavin Smith, Drew Ellis).

If you’re keeping track — and I am, because it’s my job to do so — that’s eight home runs in 11 spring innings for Hendricks.

Concerning? Honestly, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Spring Training is so different from any other baseball we see. Pitchers work on pitches. The dry, warm air of Arizona is conducive to home runs. So I just don’t know if this is something, or nothing.

Hendricks had a weird year in 2021.

First seven starts: 6.23 ERA, 11 home runs in 34⅔ innings
Next 16 starts: 2.79 ERA, 11 home runs in 100 innings
Last nine starts: 7.96 ERA, nine home runs in 46⅓ innings

So which is the real Hendricks? For half the year he was the Hendricks of old. For the other half — the start and finish — he was a DFA candidate. I can’t believe that after seven very good MLB seasons (2014-20), he has suddenly lost it.

I guess we’ll find out starting Thursday at Wrigley Field.

One other note that’s a bit concerning:

Ildemaro Vargas was supposed to be in the lineup against the Brewers; instead, minor leaguer Reggie Preciado played second base in that game.

The Cubs had just three hits in the game against the D-Backs — and the first one wasn’t by any of the MLB players in the game. 19-year-old James Triantos had an infield single off Madison Bumgarner in the third inning. Patrick Wisdom singled to left in the seventh and Vargas singled in the eighth for the other hits.

Former Cub Sergio Alcántara doubled and scored off Chris Martin in the bottom of the seventh.

David Robertson made his spring debut for the Cubs in the eighth inning of this game and retired D-Backs hitters (okay, minor leaguers) 1-2-3 on a groundout and two strikeouts, so that’s good. A better description:

This seems good:

The Cubs will return to Sloan Park Saturday afternoon to face the Angels. Justin Steele — who now appears assured of a rotation spot — will start for the Cubs and Patrick Sandoval will go for the Angels. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. There will also be a radio broadcast on 670 The Score — in fact, all four remaining spring games will be on the Score.