The best hope for the Cubs to make some noise in the postseason is likely getting pitcher Kyle Hendricks back on track.
Yu Darvish, who was just named NL pitcher of the month for August, has been one of the best pitchers in the majors. So a strong 1-2 punch in the rotation would be an appealing situation.
But Hendricks, who snapped a personal three-game losing streak against the Pirates on Wednesday, admitted he’s been working through some issues with arguably his best pitch.
“My changeup just isn’t feeling good,” Hendricks said after Wednesday’s victory. “Last outing and this outing, it’s just not feeling right, not coming out of my hand right. So that’s something I’ve really got to focus on, really got to work on at my side this week.
“In game, we just had to make the adjustment to go to more heaters and curveballs, but it was a little bit part of the plan too.”
Losing the mechanics on his changeup might help explain Hendricks’ slide. He allowed 10 hits and 5 runs in his previous start in Cincinnati.
“It’s kind of been that way through my last few starts,” he said. “I’ve just been searching for it, it’s just been a grind, it doesn’t feel quite right. I’ve been putting a lot of work in my sides and stuff, and it feels good at times there. But then I get to game day and it’s just off again.
“It was better, it’s getting closer, so I’ve just got to take those positives. But it’s just a timing issue. My mechanics are good, the ball’s coming out fine, just a little bit of timing at the top of my balance point. I just rush through it a little bit at times. I’ve just got to keep working on it, keep grinding and it will come.”
No timetable for Quintana: Cubs manager David Ross said Thursday there’s no timetable for how long pitcher Jose Quintana could be sidelined. The lefthander went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Aug. 31 with left lat inflammation.
“I think how hard he had to work in his last inning in Cincinnati (Sunday) is when I kind of found out about it,” Ross said. “Just thought it was normal tightness and soreness. He threw his pen (Wednesday) and it just didn’t go away. He’s still dealing with a little bit of that.
“Out of caution, making sure everything’s fine there is important. (His return) is going to be a lot about how he feels.”
Cards back at Wrigley: After a 5-5 road trip, the Cubs headed home for another five-game series against St. Louis.
The Cubs will have their ace, Yu Darvish, on the mound for Friday’s opener at Wrigley Field. The Cardinals have played nine fewer games than the Cubs because of the COVID-19 outbreak on the team in early August, but second-place St. Louis is just 3 ½ games back in the NL Central.
“They’re all important. All the games matter in such a short season,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We try not to put too much importance on one (game) or the other. They all matter the same to me. We know that’s the team that’s in second place behind us.”
The Cubs will play 13 of their next 16 games at home, with the lone road series just up the road in Milwaukee.