The Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-3 on Friday, improving to 23-21 this season.
Here’s 10 observations from the game.
1. Kyle Hendricks was efficient in his 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander only threw 83 pitches before exiting, and although he allowed three runs, just one was earned.
2. Hendricks is a notorious slow starter (career 4.78 ERA in March/April) who turns it on after April. This season has been no exception. After five April starts yielded a 7.54 ERA, he’s come on strong in May (2.36 ERA in four outings), pitching into the seventh inning three times.
3. Sometimes, the best move you can make is pitching around a guy. After the Cardinals tied things at 2 in the sixth, Hendricks intentionally walked Nolan Arenado to load the bases. The right-hander got the next two Cardinals hitters to end the threat.
4. The Cubs’ offense, overly dependent on the home run in recent seasons, has found a sense of balance in 2021. They scored 11 times Friday on a sac fly, wild pitch and error, three singles, two doubles and two bases-loaded walks. Eight of those runs came in the eighth inning.
5. Allow Joc Pederson to introduce him to the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. Pederson, hitting leadoff, sent the first pitch of Friday’s game to the bleachers — his second home run of the season.
6. Pederson’s continued success has been key with Jake Marisnick and Jason Heyward sidelined with hamstring strains. After a rough April, he’s batting 21-for-52 (.396) in May. He chipped in a walk and sac fly in Friday’s 1-for-3 performance, popping up with the bases loaded in the eighth
7. A pop fly in the third dropped between Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner that was eerily similar to one they collided on in Cincinnati earlier this month. Hoerner pulled off and Happ came up short on a sliding attempt. The Cardinals scored on the play.
8. On the day key reliever Justin Steele hit the IL, the Cubs bullpen continued its May dominance. Tommy Nance allowed an inherited runner to score, but he, Dan Winkler and Brad Wieck didn't allow an earned run in 2 1/3 innings. The Cubs pen's May ERA is down to 2.05
9. Anthony Rizzo and Nolan Arenado are Platinum Glove winners and two of the best at their positions. Naturally, they both made errors Friday — in consecutive half innings, nonetheless.
10. For just the second time this season, the Cubs are two games above .500. It’s the first time they’ve reached the mark since April 5 (3-1).
On deck: The Cubs and Cardinals meet again Saturday at 6:15 p.m. Adbert Alzolay (2-3, 4.62 ERA) and Miles Mikolas (season debut) are the probable starters.