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Jun 25, 2024 9:08 am

Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks looks to subdue Giants

Kyle Hendricks

Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks hopes to continue to advance his season in a positive direction Tuesday night when he starts in the Cubs’ rematch with the host San Francisco Giants.

Coming off a season in which he recorded a 3.74 ERA, Hendricks had a 12.00 ERA in his first five starts in 2024.

Hendricks was demoted from the starting staff with an 0-4 record and 10.57 ERA two outings later. He found his form pitching out of the bullpen, however, where he allowed just five runs in five games.

That got the 34-year-old another shot at starting last Wednesday in a home game against the Giants, and he celebrated his promotion with his first win of the season. In a 6-5 triumph, he limited the visitors to one run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings.

In the process, Hendricks (1-4, 7.46 ERA) improved his lifetime record against San Francisco to 7-2 with a 2.30 ERA.

“I still have a long way to go,” he said. “I’ve got to keep stacking them together, whatever I’m asked to do or whenever I’m out there.”

Hendricks drew Giants opener Erik Miller as a pitching opponent last week and might do so again on Tuesday even though Miller started Monday’s game for San Francisco, throwing one scoreless inning in a 5-4 win over Chicago.

With five starting pitchers on the injured list, Giants manager Bob Melvin scheduled bullpen games for each of the first two games of the series vs. the Cubs. Tuesday’s slot was previously held by Keaton Winn, who experienced right elbow inflammation while pitching in Chicago last week.

Miller (2-2, 4.00 ERA) is a candidate to start again after needing just 16 pitches to complete his scoreless first inning in the series opener. The left-hander has served as an opener seven times this season, never in consecutive games, but last week did throw 1 1/3 innings of relief on the day after opening a 13-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

He left Monday’s game long before the Giants got around to hitting. On a night when the club was paying tribute to the legendary Willie Mays, who died last Tuesday at the age of 93, the hosts scored the last five runs of their 5-4 win, including three in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Melvin walked away hoping the three-run ninth not only had ended a five-game losing streak, but now will start the Giants in a new direction.

“We’ve been thinking about this all week,” Melvin said of a “Win One For Willie” attitude that reached its climax with a game in Birmingham last Thursday. “Finally to win a game for him. … It’s great to be able to do it at home.

“We’ve done our best work late in games. We always feel like we’ve got a chance.”

The Giants also rallied from two runs down in the ninth to pull out a 7-6 win in the opener of their series in Chicago last week. The momentum was short-lived, however, as the Cubs prevailed 5-2 and 6-5 in the final two games of the set, triggering the Giants’ losing streak that ended Monday.

–Field Level Media

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