Kyle Hendricks nearly tossed a no-hitter when he faced the San Francisco Giants earlier this season.
Considering the way the Giants‘ offense has struggled of late, the veteran right-hander could be in for another strong outing while trying to help the Cubs hand reeling San Francisco a fifth straight defeat on Tuesday night in Chicago.
In just his fourth start of 2023 on June 10, the 33-year-old Hendricks (5-7, 3.59 ERA) didn’t allow a hit to the Giants until Mitch Haniger’s two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning. The right-hander retired the next batter to cap an exceptional performance in which he also issued a walk in facing 26 batters during Chicago’s 4-0 road victory.
While Hendricks hasn’t had no-hit stuff of late, he is 1-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his last five starts. Yet the Cubs (74-64) are only 2-3 during those outings. Last Wednesday, Hendricks allowed an unearned run, four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings of a 3-2 victory over Milwaukee to lower his ERA to 1.96 in his last three home starts. He did not receive a decision in that game.
Hendricks ranks among the major league leaders with 16 starts of allowing three or fewer earned runs since May 25 — when he made his season debut after recovering from a shoulder issue. However, he faces a tough task in following up the dominant effort delivered by teammate Justin Steele, who struck out a career-high 12 over eight innings of Monday’s 5-0 victory against San Francisco.
“We know going forward every game is gonna be huge,” Hendricks said.
“We really just lock in on each pitch. Don’t make the situation too big.”
Second in both the National League Central and the wild-card standings, Chicago is 31-14 since July 18. The Cubs have also won three straight and 16 of their last 22 at home.
“We’re happy we were able to get that first game of the series under our belt, and we’re gonna focus on the other games,” Suzuki said.
Also fighting for an NL wild-card spot, San Francisco has been shut out in back-to-back contests, and outscored 22-4 during its four-game losing streak that’s come on the road, where it’s lost 18 of its last 22. The Giants have totaled just 11 hits in the last three games and struck out 53 times during a five-game stretch.
“We’re trying to scratch and claw to win every baseball game in any way we can,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said.
The Giants managed just two singles on Monday, including one from Casey Schmitt, who is 1-for-3 in each of his last three games. However, teammate Mike Yastrzemski is 0-for-6 in his last three games, and 0-for-8 with four strikeouts versus Hendricks.
San Francisco appears slated to trot out rookie Ryan Walker (4-2, 2.16) as a likely opener on Tuesday. The right-hander has posted a 2.55 ERA during the 11 times he’s filled that role this season for the Giants.
—Field Level Media
Original source here
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