The Cubs lost their ace pitcher on Saturday as Kyle Hendricks was placed on the 10-day IL with right shoulder inflammation. With Hendricks out, the Cubs rotation needs to pick up the slack in order to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
Hendricks is leading the team in innings pitched with 88.1 while posting a solid ERA of 3.36. Before his injury, he was starting to pick up his play even more.
Hendricks was one of the top aces last month and had notched three straight wins before picking up a loss on Friday. He was leader for the Cubs rotation and helped pushed the team up the standings. Now, the rest of Chicago's arms will have to step up.
Cole Hamels has also been great this season, as he's logged a 2.98 ERA through 84.2 innings pitched. The rest of the rotation is also solid, featuring Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana. If they are able to step up as a unit, Hendricks' absence could be negated.
Theo Epstein explains the decision to shut down Kyle Hendricks: “This is the right thing to do. Where we are in the season, it’s not uncommon for shoulder inflammation to pop up. You could kind of notice it last night. He had a hard time really finishing his pitches.”— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) June 16, 2019
The Cubs are battling in the standings as they are currently just 0.5 games out of first place in the NL Central division. With Hendricks about to miss time, it could be a crucial stretch in their season.
Yu Darvish's performance against the formidable Dodgers is certainly encouraging, as he struck out 10 batters while surrendering just one run, a solo shot from Alex Verdugo. If this performance can lead to a string of solid outings for Darvish, then the Cubs may not be missing Hendricks as much as they initially thought.