Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 4, Cardinals 0
Mike Maddux, the Cardinals’ pitching coach, must have felt as if he was watching his younger brother Greg pitch on Friday at Wrigley Field.
Maddux was really watching Kyle Hendricks, but he delivered the best impersonation of Greg Maddux as any pitcher has done against the Cardinals in nearly 25 years.
Hendricks shut out the Cardinals on just 81 pitches, the first time a pitcher shut out the Cardinals on fewer than 90 pitches since Maddux, then pitching for the Braves, did it on Aug. 20, 1995.
Maddux had six shutouts on less than 90 pitches in his career, the first one coming when he was pitching for the Cubs in 1991.
According to Baseball Reference, the only pitchers who shut out the Cardinals on fewer than 90 pitches in a nine-inning game before Hendricks did it on Friday since 1963 were Sandy Koufax, Doug Drabek, Zane Smith and Maddux. Pitch-count data is not available on most games prior to the 1980s.
It was the first shutout by a Cubs pitcher against the Cardinals since Kerry Wood blanked the Cardinals on May 7, 2002, also at Wrigley.
The Cardinals lost two consecutive games for the first time since April 15-16.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals only had four singles against Hendricks, who threw more than 10 pitches in only one inning. Kolten Wong had the first hit in the third before Harrison Bader singled in the sixth and was picked off. Yadier Molina got a hit in the eighth and pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler singled in the ninth. They advanced only one runner to second base … It was the first time this season the Cardinals did not draw at least one walk and they only had three strikeouts, tying the second-lowest total of the season.
On the mound: Jack Flaherty allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings, the big blow a three-run homer by Anthony Rizzo. It came after Flaherty issued back-to-back walks with one out in the third … Flaherty walked four, including the last batter he faced which loaded the bases in the sixth. He finished with nine strikeouts … Giovanny Gallegos got out of the sixth on a foul popup, but gave up the final Cubs run in the seventh.
Key stat: Matt Carpenter was back in the leadoff spot after one game hitting third and was 0-of-4. He has just two hits in his last six games, going 2-of-22 in that stretch. He has drawn four walks and struck out 12 times as his average has fallen to .190. Through games of May 3 last year Carpenter’s average was .167.
Worth noting: Flaherty became the 11th player on the Cardinals with a stolen base this season. The team leader with 15 last year was Harrison Bader, and he has not stolen a base yet this season. The last Cardinals pitcher to steal a base was Michael Wacha in 2015 … A Cardinal pitcher had not stolen a base in a game at Wrigley Field since Pepper Martin, in one of two pitching appearances in his career, did it in 1936 … Carlos Martinez is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Peoria on Sunday … The Cardinals will have to make a decision about activating reliever Luke Gregerson from the injured list on Saturday because his 30-day rehab assignment has expired.
Looking ahead: Wacha will get the start on Saturday in the second game of the series.