#Cubs Hendricks opens series vs Brewers

Kyle Hendricks opens the Cubs’ nine-game road trip Tuesday night in Milwaukee, facing the Brewers at Miller Park. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Heyward RF

Bryant LF

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Baez 3B

Montero C

Hendricks P

NOTES: Ben Zobrist is slashing .432/.526/.750 with four home runs, 18 RBI and 5 Ks in his last 13 games.  … Jason Heyward is batting .357 (10-28 AB) with five runs scored during his seven-game hit streak. He has yet to hit his first home run with the Cubs. … Addison Russell has reached base safely in 18 straight games, posting a .438 OBP with 19 RBI over that span. …  Anthony Rizzo is slashing .376/.468/.753 (35-93 AB) with eight home runs and 27 RBI over his last 25 games against the Brewers.

*In case you missed it, here are the pitching matchups vs. the Brewers:

Tuesday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.03) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (1-5, 6.11)
Wednesday: RHP John Lackey (4-2, 3.54) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (4-3, 3.51)
Thursday: RHP Jason Hammel (5-0, 1.77) vs. RHP Junior Guerra (2-0, 4.00)



Tonight`s game is a classic example of the axiom that good pitching trumps good hitting. The Cubs lineup tonight on paper was head and shoulders above that of the Brew Crew`s. But that fact was completely nullified by the dominating offerings of the Brewers` starter Anderson. It`s why the Cubs need to prioritize pitching, and that means every level of pitching, including starters, middle relief, and closers. A club can never have too much pitching.

Aloha jhosk, so true. Anderson also kept a “fast” pace and that took the Cubs’ hitters off they game. I was impressed how fast he worked. So, that can have a tendency to make a hitter anxious. In that situation one just has to go up there ready/prepared and to adjust. For example how Rizzo chokes up on the bat after 2 strikes. So, it was a very good opportunity for the team to learn from as small ball is important against one like Anderson’s style. Hendricks did not pitch poorly but early on I felt he was trying to be to “fine” in hitting the corners. Let us not forget that the Brewers have some darn good hitters too: Lucroy, Carter, Braun. And there fielding was tremendous last night. Kudos to them. Now Lackey has to go out there and limit the Brew-crew to give the hitters a chance. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. Thanks for those details. I did not see the game, and based my comments on wraps and the box score, which I always find revealing. I plead guilty to underestimating the Brewers` offensive capabilities. Love to observe a pitcher who works fast. It holds the audience`s undivided attention and keeps the position players from falling asleep. Remember Steve Trachsel? (sp?) He worked incredibly slowly. I detested watching him pitch. Is remarkable he did not put more of his fielders to sleep than he did. (Incidentally, Steve was interviewed in the booth with Pat and Ron recently.) You mention small ball. When I praised Earl Weaver recently, that`s one aspect of the game Earl had a proclivity to ignore. Joe Maddon is willing to embrace both the three run homer and small ball. It`s why Joe has the potential to surpass anything Earl Weaver accomplished as manager. But Joe has to win at least one title for that scenario to come to pass. That`s an absolute necessity.

That day Steve was interviewed in the booth, he may have sung during the seventh inning stretch. Not certain about that, but if Steve did sing, I`m glad I missed it, because i doubt I would have enjoyed listening to that any more than enduring observing him pitch back in the day. That was pure torture. Trust me.

The Cubs have allowed the least amount of runs in baseball so far this season, so I’d say they’ve done a good job at “prioritizing pitching”. And every once in awhile, a Chase Anderson is going to look like a Jake Arrieta. Next time the Cubs face Anderson, I’ll be willing to bet that he’s more likely to be knocked out of the game in the 4th inning than he is to be one strike away from a CG shutout because despite his good pitching night, he’s not a pitcher that is going to shut down a potent lineup every time he faces one. As for the “good pitching beats good hitting” saying, the Cubs have beaten the following good pitchers this year: Garret Richards, Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Jaime Garcia, Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark & Francisco Liriano. So maybe we should say “Good teams can beat good pitching because they are a good team.”

This is another instance where I failed to provide clarity, sir. I did not have the current major league club in mind with my remarks. The current club is well stocked with pitching. That`s obvious. I`m wanting the organization to be emphasizing pitching in our farm system. I want to encourage that. I`ve heard it said by jasper, for instance, that the organization has targeted pitching with its recent draft choices, and I want to see that continue. I want to see starters, middle relievers, and closers developed at the A level, the Advanced A level, the AA level, and the AAA level, and the Rookie level, and any other level I may have omitted. Most of those pitchers will no doubt, fail to reach the majors, but there may be some gems who will emerge, and that makes the entire effort worthwhile. {As for the hitting versus pitching argument, I think we can all agree it`s ideal to have both.That`s balance. If one can add good defense to the mix, that`s even better. But if it comes down to choosing just one betwixt hitting and pitching, I`m choosing the latter. I think I`m still influenced by observing those Dodger teams back in the late fifties and sixties led by Koufax and Drysdale. Their lineups consisted of a cluster of ‘hitless wonders,” and yet somehow they found a way to either win championships or compete on the very highest levels.}

Fair enough. However, I will point out that of the current mlb.com Cubs Top 30 prospects, 15 are pitchers, including three in the top 10 (#4 Duane Underwood, #8 Dylan Cease & #9 Oscar de la Cruz). Of course, the current regime hasn’t picked a pitcher in the first round (not counting supplemental first round picks Pierce Johnson & Paul Blackburn), so there might not be a “can’t miss” ace-in-waiting like Stephen Strasburg, but not every ace-caliber pitcher was a first round pick. And while not every prospect lives up to their potential, the Cubs current front office has had an excellent track record when it comes to developing prospects, so when it comes to the development of pitching, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Aloha jhosk, Doug did bring up a nice list of very good pitchers that this team has beat. Cole has had the Cubs number for a while now but starting with last year’s wildcard game into this year, the team is doing much better against him. I get your point that always at the forefront is pitching. Now, where I give kudos to this FO, is that as I did in finance, Many times I took a contrary view so in this case, drafting power hitters, position players. Then using current players and farm folks to trade for pitching like Hendricks, Arrieta. With pitchers today receiving such high salaries when eligible, by having the position players the organization now has, trades can be had for very good pitching prospects and/or good pitcher now. I will say a gutsy move was when the FO traded Shark and Hammel (pitchers) to the A’s for Russell and the outfielder whose name slips my mind. I was so pleased at the time, of course risk is involved on both sides of a deal. You brought up Koufax and those Dodgers. Their pitching was so good that Giants fans to this day will tell you that Marichal was overlooked for CY award, MVP and so forth. We still have not seen since Koufax, a 5yr run like he had. Maybe one of the Cubs staff will equal or break it! Take care now. Mahalo!

Aloha again jhosk, I think the other player in the Shark trade besides Addison was McKinney(sp). There was another too who I believe is with the Reds now, pitcher Dan Straily (sp)? That so far has been a great trade. Your guy LaStella gets the start tonight at 3rd and Bryant to LF. Should be a good game. Mahalo!

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