When thinking about the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation – in particular, the most durable, longest-lasting starters, one generally thinks about the two at the top. Jon Lester, the staff ace. Jake Arrieta, one of the best in all of baseball over the past year or so.
With that said, who just notched the team’s first complete game of the year? Kyle Hendricks. Currently lined up as the final man in the rotation, the 25 year old hurled a five-hit shutout Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, striking out seven Padres in a 3-0 victory for the visiting Cubs and helping Chicago close to within 3.5 games of first.
Through his first seven starts, Hendricks had completed six innings just once, back in his second start of the year. But with the bullpen a bit weary following 4.1 innings of work in Tuesday’s 3-2 Cubs victory, Hendricks kept his pitch count low and benefited from a pair of double plays, including one in the eighth that let him finish what he started.
Finishing off the complete game also helped Hendricks notch the eighth-highest game score in MLB this year at 84. Well, he’s tied for eighth with Corey Kluber of the Indians, who also notched an 84 game score on Monday against the White Sox. Noted sabermetrician Bill James created the game score statistic to determine a pitcher’s effectiveness.
You can read more about the game score here. For reference, Jason Hammel had the previous Cubs’ team high game score of 81 back on April 27 (8 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 7 K). Kerry Wood‘s 20 strikeout game in 1998 stands as the best game score ever at 105.
The Padres made significant moves during the offseason, trading for their entire starting outfield (Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton), closer (Craig Kimbrel), catcher (Derek Norris) and third baseman (Will Middlebrooks). In fact, the team traded away nearly all of its top 20 prospects in an effort to make the major league squad a playoff contender. With the Cubs looking to challenge for the postseason this year as well, claiming series victories against Wild Card seekers such as San Diego and the New York Mets (a four-game sweep last week) could provide greater dividends come October.
With that said, a sad trombone sound effect (think losing on The Price Is Right) for those living outside Chicago and unable to get CSN Plus on your local cable system – even if you have Comcast! Though the game was aired on MLB Network, thanks to the pesky blackout, a number of Cub fans were unable to view the game on television (this writer included). Oh well, Twitter’s at least an outlet to follow the action. Speaking of, if you’re not following the humble gents that run this place, Anno (@wsdreaming_cubs) and Rice (@cubicsnarkonia), go rectify that immediately.
Some final housekeeping bits in this, my first foray into blogging here at World Series Dreaming – I made my podcasting debut earlier tonight, as Anno and Rice were gracious enough to have me on as a guest. Get well soon, Anno!
Also, I have a pair of season tickets this year, even though I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Let’s say the excitement of having my number called after 11 years of waiting was too much to pass up! Anyway, there are quite a few games I won’t be able to make. If you’re interested, get in touch with me on Twitter (@cjdubbya) and we’ll work out the details. Thanks for reading, and #LetsGo!