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Braves 8, Cubs 0: This space intentionally left blank, just like today’s Cubs score

The Cubs got blanked, and The Professor got lit up.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

One thing that every single Cubs fan knew before this game began was that Kyle Hendricks had no margin for error against a team that hits as well as the Atlanta Braves do.

And for three innings, Kyle matched Atlanta’s Max Fried, retiring the first nine hitters he faced. Fried did it mostly by strikeout (five), while Kyle had four ground outs and a couple of strikeouts, as well as this nice sliding catch by Ian Happ that ended the third [VIDEO].

And then it all blew up in the fourth, with Hendricks hit hard, for eight hits and seven runs, and the Braves wound up winning 8-0. The Professor threw 34 pitches in that inning and two of them left the yard. I will spare you the carnage, except for this:

Meanwhile, Fried, in his first start back from a long IL stint, had the Cubs tied in knots at the plate, retiring the first 12 Cubs hitters before Cody Bellinger broke up any attempt at a perfect game or no-hitter with a leadoff single in the fifth. The Cubs managed just three other hits off Fried and three Atlanta relievers. Two of those came with two out in the sixth, by Miguel Amaya and Nick Madrigal, the only time the Cubs had a runner past first base.

Hayden Wesneski threw three decent innings in relief, marred only by a home run by Austin Riley, and Jose Cuas also threw a scoreless frame. The home run off Wesneski was the Braves’ eighth run, which allowed the Cubs to use Tucker Barnhart to throw the ninth. In his third pitching appearance of the year, Barnhart trotted out an “eephus pitch” and that provided some entertainment, at least:

Here are the two sub-40 mile per hour pitches Barnhart threw:

Barnhart allowed one hit and his season ERA remains 0.00.

About Hendricks, this game is troubling — or is it? Here are some interesting numbers.

Hendricks vs. Atlanta since 2021: four starts, 16 innings, 34 hits, 27 runs (all earned), 2.375 WHIP, 11 home runs, 15.19 ERA
Hendricks vs. all other teams since 2021: 58 starts, 330⅓ innings, 329 hits, 151 earned runs, 45 home runs, 4.12 ERA

So is Kyle on the downslide? Or have the Braves simply figured him out? Those numbers apart from the Atlanta games are still okay for a fifth starter, which is basically what Hendricks is now. One thing’s for sure: When the Cubs travel to Atlanta in September, whatever they have to do to move the rotation around, don’t start him in that three-game series. His next start should come up against the Mets in New York next Wednesday. Perhaps that will be better. Here’s what he said after the game:

In any case, the Cubs certainly knew this would be a tough series against a very good opponent, and the Braves showed that Friday afternoon. Fortunately, it counts as only one loss, and the Cubs still do have two more games they can possibly win in this series. And lastly, it was a swift kill — the 2:09 game time was tied for the second-fastest at Wrigley Field this year.

With the use of Wesneski in relief in this game (50 pitches), it became obvious that Javier Assad would be tabbed to start Saturday, and that was confirmed by David Ross after the game. Bryce Elder will start for the Braves. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.