After Hendricks hit hard, Sampson shines for Cubs
The Cubs had a dominant pitcher on the mound Sunday, but it wasn't starter Kyle Hendricks.
Adrian Sampson came on in relief and allowed just 1 hit over the last 4⅔ innings, but the Cubs had already fallen well behind on the way to a 6-0 loss to Atlanta at Wrigley Field.
According to Cubs media relations, Sampson is the first Cubs reliever since Dave Roberts in 1977 to throw at least 4⅔ innings with one or no baserunners allowed.
"That's as good as I've seen him," Cubs manager David Ross said. "Up to 94 (mph) it looked like, moved the ball in and out really well, I thought the changeup really played. The slider had some real depth to it.
"I had a pitching coach tell me a long time ago you know when a guy's got his good stuff when he gets a lot of weak contact back to him. A lot of those today. He was in cruise control the entire time."
Heading into the fifth inning, Hendricks could say one bad pitch got him into trouble. It was a 3-run homer in the first inning by Travis d'Arnaud. But then Atlanta added more hard contact with a home run and 3 straight doubles in the fifth before the change was made.
"Just some bad heaters in the middle of the plate that they took advantage of," Hendricks said. "You saw those last two days, when we pitch well and get aggressive and get after it and the defense is behind it, we can beat anybody. I've just got to be better on that front."
MLB drops a pitcher:
The Cubs will have to make a roster adjustment Monday, because the MLB mandate of having no more than 13 pitchers on a roster will finally go into effect.
The rule was originally supposed to set in on May 1, then it was extended to May 30 and finally June 20 due to the shortened spring training and whatever else. The Cubs are planning to send rookie Caleb Kilian to the mound for his third major league start Monday in Pittsburgh.
"I think they're doing that in theory to keep the starters in the game, not run into so many (left vs. left or right vs. right) matchups," manager David Ross said. "They did that (earlier) with the three-batter minimum. So I think in their mind it's for the betterment of the game. We'll see how it plays out."
There have already been complaints about too many position players taking the mound late in games. That doesn't figure to change with every team losing a pitcher.
"I've seen all I want to see from my end," Ross said of position players taking the mound. "You're not going to waste pitching. You're going to try go after the games you can win and the ones you might be out of it, you're definitely going to move onto the next day."
Suzuki to Arizona:
The Cubs are planning to send outfield Seiya Suzuki to Arizona this week to continue to rehab a left index finger sprain, while the team is on the road at Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
Suzuki, who has been out since May 26, was seen playing catch on the field before Sunday's game.
"Being on the road's a little bit tougher to facilitate extra work," manager David Ross said. "So going to Arizona, he can do all his training, get as much (batting practice), progress as fast as he possibly can. There's live pitching down there if he wants to track some, if he wants to face some. All that stuff we won't have on the road."