When last we met in recap-land, a Seiya Suzuki inside-the-park homer had given the Cubs the lead and could have led to one of the most exciting wins of 2022. Instead, David Robertson blew that ninth-inning lead and the Cubs lost Monday in extra innings.
Tuesday, Suzuki hit his second home run in as many days since returning from the injured list. That two-run blast broke a 2-2 tie and this time, not only did the Cubs not blow the lead, they went on to score four more and defeated the Brewers easily, 8-3.
Kyle Hendricks, who’s allowed a lot of home runs the last couple of years, served up a two-run homer to Rowdy Tellez in the first inning. He appeared to have settled down after that, but was removed after the third inning and 69 pitches (that’s a lot for three innings). His velocity was down — even from its usual not-very-high level — and here’s what happened:
Kyle Hendricks felt discomfort in his shoulder, similar to what he felt previously. He expects to get an MRI tomorrow and indicated he could miss next start.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 6, 2022
Hendricks said he felt fine in pregame ‘pen but felt it on first warmup pitch 1st inning. Discomfort remained after that.
It would seem to me that this might be the time to put Kyle on the injured list and get this fixed. Caleb Kilian could take a few starts in his place. As always, we await developments.
The Cubs cut Milwaukee’s 2-0 lead in half in the fourth inning. With one out, Patrick Wisdom walked and Alfonso Rivas was hit by a pitch. A single by Yan Gomes loaded the bases and this infield grounder by Nelson Velázquez scored Wisdom to make it 2-1 [VIDEO].
Matt Swarmer threw a scoreless fourth and the Cubs took the lead in the fifth. With one out, Nico Hoerner reached on a throwing error and Ian Happ doubled just inside the third-base line to tie the game at 2 [VIDEO].
On Jason Alexander’s very next pitch, Suzuki gave the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
Suzuki appears to be a man on a mission. Since returning Monday, he’s 4-for-9 with two homers and four RBI.
The Cubs piled more runs on in the sixth. Gomes and Velázquez led off with singles. One out later, Rafael Ortega tripled them both in [VIDEO].
I have been critical of Ortega in the past but I have to give him credit for his recent hitting. Since June 1: .303/.389/.487 (23-for-76) with six doubles, a triple, two home runs, 11 walks and three stolen bases. That’s quality MLB hitting.
One out later, Happ walked and then this happened [VIDEO].
There’s one of those three steals by Ortega — of home. Happ did exactly the right thing here, took off and then stopped, allowing Ortega to break for the plate. A good throw might have gotten him, but the throw came in high, and the score was 7-2. Three pitches later, Suzuki made it 8-2 [VIDEO].
This was just a well-played game all around by the Chicago Cubs, with a varied offense and solid relief pitching. The Brewers did score a run in garbage time in the ninth, but overall the Cubs pen combined for six innings, allowing three hits and that one run, and struck out five. In particular, props to Swarmer, who appears well-suited for a two- or three-inning relief role, and to Rowan Wick, who I have also criticized here recently, for a solid two-inning outing with no runs or hits allowed.
And so, I declare the complaint department closed for this game, a satisfying win that once again evened up the season series with the first-place Brewers, six wins each. More on Hendricks:
Hendricks: "It's just super frustrating that I was feeling really good coming into this. ... I just don't know where it came from."— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) July 6, 2022
I can guess: It might have been related to the 116-pitch outing Hendricks had against the Padres in San Diego back in May. Kyle hadn’t thrown more than 110 pitches in a game since 2019 and hadn’t thrown 116 since 2016. His next four starts after that: 6.86 ERA, only seven strikeouts in 19⅔ innings, five home runs allowed. Then he sat out for 12 days and followed by alternating good and bad outings, but Tuesday it was clear something was wrong. Perhaps it’s time to get this fixed once and for all.
The Cubs will go for yet another series win — it would be their fourth such win in a row — Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee. While the Cubs might still be 15 games under .500, they’ve matched the Brewers with an 8-5 record since June 22.
Wednesday’s pitching matchup is a tough one for the Cubs. Adrian Sampson will start for the Cubs, and he’s been solid, but Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee’s best pitcher, will get the call for the home team. Game time is 1:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. Today’s BCB game preview will post at 11:30 a.m. CT.