Behind Wisdom’s big day Cubs rally, support Hendricks’ start
If there’s been a reason for Patrick Wisdom’s success since he’s been called up, David Ross believes it has to do with his mentality. Like many of the other players who have stepped up with the Cubs’ injuries, Wisdom has stayed within himself.
“Coming up knowing just trying to make a name for themselves, control what they can control and staying in the moment,” Ross said. “I think it’s just one of those, guys that are mentally tough and been around the game for a little while and understanding just go out there and play your game and have the best at-bats.”
Sunday afternoon, Wisdom showed he’s still having his best at-bats. He hit two home runs, a solo home run in the 2nd inning and a 2-run shot in the 4th inning en route to a 4-3 win in the series finale against the Giants.
“He is so hot right now,” Kyle Hendricks said. “Wow. What a huge lift. Not only today, but what he’s been doing every time at the plate every time he goes out there. It’s just amazing to watch.”
Wisdom has 7 home runs in his first 8 starts as a Cub, the most since 1906. He’s provided a boost to the Cubs from third base after Matt Duffy went down with an injury and allowed Kris Bryant to play in the outfield after Joc Pederson had the day off after leaving Saturday’s game with low back tightness.
It’s providing a jolt to his teammates, too.
“It’s incredible,” Ian Happ said. “He hits a homer every time. I was on base for that second one and it was just as soon as he hit it, it was like, ‘Oh, there’s another one.’ Guy’s got 7 pumps already and he hasn’t been here that long. I think some of us are looking at the board going, ‘Shoot, we’ve been here a minute and don’t have that many.’
“If we can just get it to Wisdom with guys on base, we’ll be all right.”
Hendricks delivers quality start
After 3 straight short outings from their starters to begin the series, the Cubs got much needed a strong performance from Hendricks Sunday afternoon. Hendricks did that, as he struck out 5 over 6.1 innings of work, allowing just 3 runs.
“We needed some length out of him,” Ross said. “I think there’s just times in the season where some things go awry with the other starts. A couple of short outings from the starters and we needed some length out of him. He’s done that twice now to really pick us up.”
The end result was a lot better than how it seemed it would go when it started. That’s a credit to how good the Giants have been.
On his first pitch, Hendricks allowed a solo home run to Lamonte Wade Jr. The Giants added another run and brought seven hitters to the plate in the opening frame. They added another run in the 2nd inning on a Buster Posey RBI-double.
“They’re locked in over there,” Hendricks said. “They’re playing really good baseball, putting together unbelievable at-bats, playing good defense — really doing it all — and making good pitches. It was a grind, a battle.”
Hendricks settled in after that, allowing just 1 run over the next 4.1 innings of work.
That allowed the Cubs pen some needed rest, with Ross turning to Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel to get the final 8 outs.
Outfield defense on display
While plenty of the talk about Sunday’s game will deservedly center around Wisdom and Hendricks, the Cubs’ outfield defense stepped up in a big way.
After Posey’s RBI-double, Alex Dickerson hit a single to center field that one-hopped to Ian Happ, Happ took the ball and fired a strike to P.J. Higgins who tagged Buster Posey at the plate to end the inning. It was a little redemption for Happ and Jason Heyward. In the 1st inning, Heyward rifled a throw from right on a single late and allowed Posey to score from second.
“We were coming off the field and said, ‘Not twice. He can’t do it to us twice,'” Happ said. “We were able to cut him down one time and keep the lead where it was.”
In the 9th inning, Bryant showed off his defense in left field, robbing Mauricio Dubón of extra bases to lead off the inning.
“We need to play good defense, that’s something I think we can do everyday,” Ross said. “That last one was big. Ball just took off on him there. I didn’t think Dubón got it very good and it just kept carrying. He did a nice job of staying with and being ready to jump there at the wall. Nice play by KB.”
That’s what the outfielders hope to keep doing day in and day out.
“Jason and I, we talk a lot about making sure that we don’t give up that extra base,” Happ said. “Keep the doubles to singles and triples to doubles, but making sure we don’t give up that extra base because it’s so important with our pitching staff the way that they’re able to control getting ground balls and making good pitches that we limit it.”
Pederson didn’t play Sunday, but Ross said he’s progressing nicely after leaving Saturday’s game.
“Feels much better today,” Ross said. “Hopefully things will continue to move in the right direction, but I think he’s gonna be OK.”
Javy Báez left Sunday’s game early with a “wrist contusion”, per David Ross. Sergio Alcántara came in to play short for Báez after he left.
Justin Steele threw a 35-pitch bullpen Sunday in San Francisco that “went OK” according to Ross. The Cubs will monitor his recovery over the next few days before his next steps. Jake Marisnick went through recovery work Sunday after a heavier workload day on Saturday and Ross said “he’s in a good place.”