It was a rollercoaster week for the Chicago Cubs, both on the field and off. Here are a few of the biggest storylines.
“Professor” Hendricks Has Class Back in Session
“The Professor” Kyle Hendricks had class in session for the Cubs on Saturday. Hendricks allowed one hit against the San Francisco Giants, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning. No pitcher has taken a no-hitter deeper into a game this season than Hendricks, who came within four outs of history. It was his first win of the season in his fourth start. After this performance, the consensus is that Hendricks is pitching like he was before the torn shoulder capsule injury he suffered last season. Indeed, class is in session again with Hendricks at the top of his game.
What a performance from Kyle Hendricks!
8 innings of one-hit baseball and the longest no-hit bid of the season. ? pic.twitter.com/KHpweNPiKE
— MLB (@MLB) June 11, 2023
The Cubs finished their West Coast road trip with a 4-6 record. Losing 13-3 to the Giants on Sunday prevented a series sweep and a .500 road trip. Being swept by the Los Angeles Angels was the low point of the trip. They now sit at 28-37, fourth in the NL Central and 6 1/2 games back of the division lead. They are also 5 1/2 games back of a wild card spot. If there is anything positive to take away from the standings, it is that no team in the division is more than five games above .500. Also, no team is more than 8 1/2 games out of the division lead as things stand.
The Marcus Stroman Contract Situation
One of the most interesting stories in baseball right now is playing out between Marcus Stroman and the Cubs. Stroman can opt out of his contract after this season. He has publicly stated he wants an extension to remain with the Cubs. So far, according to Stroman, the team has refused to negotiate an extension. The expectation is that the Cubs will trade him before the August 1 deadline unless their stance changes. Stroman has certainly earned an extension with his on-field performance. The Cubs should do the right thing and extend him.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer should negotiate sooner rather than later. If Hoyer waits too long, it will be clear to Stroman and his agent that the Cubs do not care enough. Traditionally the Cubs are not willing to hand out large contracts, with rare exceptions. They have let multiple homegrown superstars leave the team, so this situation with a recent acquisition does not come as a surprise. Trading Stroman for prospects wouldn’t be the best move in this situation. His trade value has increased since the start of the season, but Stroman wants to stay and the Cubs should make that happen.
Under The Radar Performances
It is time to give some appreciation to Cubs players that do not get talked about enough. Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ have both played in 64 of the Cubs’ 65 games this season. Patrick Wisdom is on track to set a new single-season career high for home runs. Nico Hoerner came in to pinch hit and delivered to help the Cubs win on Friday, which was supposed to be his day off. Seiya Suzuki has five hits in his last two games after sitting out the last two due to a minor injury. While it may not always translate to wins, the Cubs have All-Star caliber players on their roster.
Photo Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports