Cubs rekindle winning formula against Cardinals
At this point, everybody understands the most likely path for this Cubs team at the trade deadline later this month.
But David Ross’ squad certainly hopes to make things interesting for Jed Hoyer’s front office and Friday’s win over the Cardinals was a step in that direction.
The Cubs put together a complete game, rattling off a 10-5 victory against their rivals. Kyle Hendricks put up an ace performance while the offense scored early, added on late and came up with clutch 2-out hits.
The Cubs’ first spark came about an hour-and-a-half before first pitch when Javy Báez was inserted into the starting lineup at shortstop and hitting cleanup. He was unable to play Thursday night with a right thumb injury and was not initially included in the lineup Friday but after taking a few swings pregame, he determined he was good to go.
Báez singled in the 1st inning and later came around to score on an aggressive baserunning play.
The Cubs offense was the story all afternoon, as they reverted back to the formula that led to a lot of success in May and June when the team was hovering around first place in the NL Central.
Before the game, Ross was asked what he wants to see out of the lineup to get back to that May level.
“Staying within your approach,” Ross said. “Not trying to hit the big home run and get the big number. … Those are the big things — big part of the field, 1 at a time, stay in your plan. Getting to 2-0 [in the count] and trying to hit one over the scoreboard hasn’t been the formula for success for us.
“Moving the baseball, having good at-bats, grinding the pitcher out to stay within your strengths is important for us.”
That’s exactly what the Cubs did all game Friday.
The lineup strung together hits, not relying on homers and putting the ball in play. The Cubs tallied 7 2-out RBI, including Joc Pederson’s double in the 1st inning that went in and out of the glove of Cardinals right fielder Dylan Carlson and led to 3 runs:
ope, 𝒂𝒍𝒎𝒐𝒔𝒕 had it pic.twitter.com/z28wSLQFli— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) July 9, 2021
The Cubs finished with 12 hits and Patrick Wisdom supplied the only homer — a 2-run shot to close out the scoring amid a 5-run 7th inning. The lineup drew almost as many walks (7) as strikeouts (8) in the ballgame.
Kris Bryant — who has been dealing with hamstring soreness — came off the bench to break the game open with a 3-run double in the 7th inning. It gave the Wrigley Field crowd of 36,192 an opportunity to get on their feet with a roaring ovation.
“I was really proud of our group,” Ross said. “Putting it in play, guys not striking out. … Being able to use KB there in that situation, big pinch-hit, that was a really nice feeling and the crowd gave us some real energy there.”
Hendricks gave up 2 runs over 6.1 innings, striking out 1 and lowering his season ERA to 3.77.
“He’s our All-Star for sure,” Ross said.
Over his last 11 outings (dating back to May 16), Hendricks is 9-0 with a 2.56 ERA and 1.04 WHIP and has 10 quality starts in that stretch.