Slow poke: Hendricks wins 7th start in row, Cubs blank Mets

Jun 17, 2021, 7:06 AM | Updated: 10:14 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyle Hendricks is showing velocity isn’t everything.

Without throwing a single pitch that reached 90 mph, Hendricks flummoxed the Mets for six innings Thursday night to win his career-best seventh straight start and lead the Chicago Cubs over the New York Mets 2-0.

That’s how the 31-year-old does it: He averages several ticks under 90 mph with the third-slowest fastball among major league starters.

“It obviously has become more of a velocity game, but there are still guys that go out and can pitch,” Hendricks said. “I just try and focus on myself, and that has to be my game. So I go out and try and execute pitches and change up timing and work quick.”

Javier Báez hit a two-run homer in the first off Marcus Stroman, and the Cubs avoided a four-game series sweep despite getting just four hits.

Hendricks (9-4) combined on a two-hitter with Andrew Chafin (pitching on his 31st birthday), Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel.

Kimbrel tied for the major league lead in saves with his 19th in 21 chances and matched Jeff Reardon for 10th place on the career list at 367.

Neither team got a hit after the fourth inning in the epitome of 2021 baseball, combining to go 0 for their final 34. The final 17 Mets made out in order, and the only one of the Cubs’ last 17 to reach base got there on an error by shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Hendricks struck out seven and walked two, retiring his last eight batters after consecutive walks in the fourth.

He improved to 4-0 against the Mets, who had trouble adjusting to his relatively soft arsenal. The fastest of his 92 pitches was 89.3 mph; his 87.1 mph fastball average entering was 186th among 188 qualified pitchers, ahead of only Adam Cimber of Miami (86.9) and submarining Tyler Rogers of San Francisco (82.3), according to MLB Statcast.

“If you look on paper, it’s nothing it’s going to wow you with,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “This is just the real art of pitching, and he goes out and does it every single time he takes the bump.”

Hendricks’ ERA is 4.13, down from 7.54 at the end of April. He doesn’t consider himself a possible All-Star.

“My numbers are still very inflated, I think, so it would be a surprise to me,” he said.

Chicago pitched just its third shutout of the season but second in five games. The Cubs got a win despite hitting .138 (17 for 123) in the series with nine runs with eight walks and 49 strikeouts.

Stroman (6-5) gave up four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk. He threw 25 split-changeups, a new pitch for him this season.

“Mechanically I was a little off in the first,” Stroman said. “Core wasn’t activated, wasn’t getting to my legs.”

Stroman allowed a single to Kris Bryant with one out in the first, and Báez hit a hanging slider into the motorized 18-by-16-foot apple in the center field batter’s eye that is raised to celebrate Mets home runs. Báez’s 16th home run this season was his second of the series.

Bryant was back at third base and went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, two nights after he was hit on the right hand by a Taijaun Walker pitch. Bryant’s throwing hand was wrapped.

New York lost for only the third time in its last 17 home games and is 20-7 at Citi Field. The Mets were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

“Our timely hitting wasn’t there,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.

WEB GEMS

Mets 1B Pete Alonso made a diving stop on Sergio Alcantara in the seventh, then dove glove-first into the base for the out. … CF Kevin Pillar had a leaping catch on Joc Pederson at the top of the wall in the fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: An MRI of ace RHP Jacob deGrom showed no abnormalities, the team said after it was examined by New York medical director David Altchek and Los Angeles Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache. … RF Michael Conforto (strained right hamstring) went 0 for 4 for in his second rehab game at Triple-A Syracuse. 2B Jeff McNeil (strained left hamstring) was 1 for 4 in his third game at Syracuse and could rejoin

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Zach Davies (4-3, 4.01) starts Friday’s homestand opener against Miami.

Mets: LHP Joey Lucchesi (1-4, 5.18) starts Friday’s series opener at Washington and RHP Erick Fedde (4-4,, 3.86)

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce celebrates after the NFL AFC Championship playoff footbal...
Associated Press

Brother vs brother: Kelces prepare for Super Bowl showdown

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donna Kelce is going to have to pull out that now-familiar custom jersey — the one with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s front stitched to Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce’s back — one more time this season. At least this time, she’ll get to see her boys in […]
1 day ago
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks back to the sidelines during the second half of...
Associated Press

Analysis: NFL wasn’t at its best in conference championships

The NFL didn’t put on its Sunday best for the conference championships. Before the San Francisco 49ers ran out of luck and quarterbacks, they were burned by a fourth-down catch by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith that wasn’t even a catch. Although Kyle Shanahan could have thrown a challenge flag, the league’s replay assist […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives to the basket on Atlanta Hawks center Cli...
Associated Press

Lillard scores 42 as Trail Blazers hold off Hawks 129-125

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 42 points, Anfernee Simons hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-125 on Monday night. Dejounte Murray had 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who played without star point guard Trae Young (ankle). […]
1 day ago
Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) looks for the basket past Texas guard Arterio Morris (2) during the...
Associated Press

Rice, Allen lead No. 10 Texas over No. 11 Baylor 76-71

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice scored 21 points and Timmy Allen added 18 to send No. 10 Texas to a 76-71 win over No. 11 Baylor on Monday night, ending the Bears’ six-game win streak and keeping the Longhorns in a share of first place in the Big 12. Rice made four 3-pointers in […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson, right, drives against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, le...
Associated Press

Bridges scores 29, Suns pull away late, beat Raptors 114-106

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had to do a double-take in the final minutes as his Phoenix Suns pulled away for another win. His eyes weren’t playing tricks. That was Mikal Bridges getting big mid-range buckets during crucial possessions in the fourth quarter, not injured All-Star guard Devin Booker. Bridges had one of his best […]
1 day ago
Winnipeg Jets' Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates after his goal against the St. Louis Blues with Saku ...
Associated Press

Morrissey, Scheifele lead Jets’ rally in 4-2 win over Blues

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night. Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor each had two assists for the Jets, who snapped a three-game skid. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots. […]
1 day ago
Slow poke: Hendricks wins 7th start in row, Cubs blank Mets