Observations: Hendricks strong, bats shut down again


The Cubs offense struggled again Wednesday as they fell to the Brewers 4-2 at Wrigley Field, dropping to 3-3 on the season.

Here's 10 observations from the game.

1. Willson Contreras was out of Wednesday’s starting lineup for a scheduled off day, with Tony Wolters starting at catcher. David Ross is keeping an eye on Contreras’ workload and Wednesday was a logical day to give him a rest.

“Day game after a night game is always tough from a catching standpoint,” Ross said pregame. “I’m really going to try and monitor his innings as much I can and protect him and his body as best I can.”

Contreras pinch hit in the 10th inning and walked.

2. Kyle Hendricks only lasted three innings on Opening Day last week, walking three batters for the first time in two years in a loss to the Pirates. He bounced back with a strong effort against Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Hendricks threw six shutout innings of four-hit ball, walking just one with six strikeouts. The right-hander worked out of a big jam in his final frame, when Milwaukee put runners on the corners with one out.

Hendricks got Travis Shaw to pop out to Javy Báez and then struck out Luis Urías swinging, generating an emphatic roar from the Wrigley Field faithful.

3. Through six games, Cubs starting pitchers hold a 3.48 ERA in 31 innings. They’ve thrown three quality starts through that stretch.

4. With a scoreless seventh inning Wednesday, Cubs pitcher Alec Mills extended his streak of hitless innings against the Brewers to 11, dating back to his no-hitter last September. 

Lorenzo Cain snapped that streak with a home run off Mills in the eighth inning. He went deep again in the 10th inning to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead.

5. Joc Pederson is no longer looking for his first hit in a Cubs uniform. The outfielder cranked a game-tying home run off Brewers reliever Devin Williams in the eighth inning to knot the score at 1.

6. While Pederson's hit helped push the game to extras, the Cubs’ offensive woes persisted. Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, snapped by an Ian Happ single. Happ, Pederson and Jason Heyward had the only three Cubs hits on the day.

RELATED: Why Cubs not worried about offense's slow start

7. Prior to Happ’s leadoff single in the seventh, Cubs hitters were on an 0-for-34 stretch dating back to the fourth inning on Tuesday. 

If you go back to the seventh inning Monday, Cubs hitters were on a 1-for-48 stretch.

8. Craig Kimbrel's strong start to the season continued with a scoreless ninth inning. Ross went to his closer despite the game being tied, and Kimbrel answered with a 1-2-3 frame, getting two groundouts and one strikeout.

In three innings this season, Kimbrel has struck out six with zero walks.

9. Kris Bryant was charged with an error in the first inning, when he was unable to come up with a ground ball down the third base line. The miscue snapped the Cubs’ five-game errorless streak to start the season, their longest since 1992 (six).

Báez also recorded an error in the 10th.

10. The Cubs did flash some leather Wednesday. Happ made a nice sliding catch in the fourth inning on a low-hanging line drive into center field, robbing Avisail Garcia of a hit. 

Happ’s catch kept Christian Yelich on second after a leadoff double. 

Next up: The Cubs have a quick turnaround as they open a three-game road weekend series on Thursday in Pittsburgh. First pitch is at 12:35 p.m. CT. Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.50 ERA) and Tyler Anderson (0-1, 5.40 ERA), who squared off last Saturday, are the probable starters.

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