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May 12, 2024 7:19 am

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs ready for rubber match with Pirates

kyle hendricks

Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks is expected to be activated from the injured list to take the mound when the Cubs visit the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Pittsburgh set a season high for runs and snapped a three-game skid with a wild 10-9 victory on Saturday. The game marked the highly anticipated major league debut of 21-year-old Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes, who gave up three runs and struck out seven over four-plus innings.

Chicago drew six bases-loaded walks off three Pirates relievers during a lengthy fifth inning that was interrupted by a rain delay of over two hours.

The Cubs rallied from a 6-1 deficit with seven runs in the fifth before Pittsburgh retook the lead on Yasmani Grandal’s three-run homer in the bottom of the frame. The Pirates hit five home runs in the victory.

All that came after Chicago’s 7-2 victory on Friday.

“We did some really good things (Saturday) offensively,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I think the fact offensively we kept grinding (was good). … Very proud of our offensive group.”

Nico Hoerner homered for Chicago, which went 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Hendricks (0-3, 12.00 ERA) will make his first start since landing on the 15-day IL with lower back pain on April 23. He threw 85 pitches in 4 1/3 innings in a rehab outing with Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old allowed 28 runs across 21 innings over five starts before his injury.

Hendricks is 9-13 with a 3.59 ERA in 29 career starts against Pittsburgh, going 5-6 with a 3.53 ERA in 16 outings at PNC Park.

Hendricks will start in place of Jameson Taillon, who has been dealing with back discomfort. Taillon believes a few days of extra rest will help address the injury.

“We’ve been treating it, going through a bunch of movements, and I’ve been playing catch every day,” Taillon said. “So I’m really happy with where we’re at.”

The Pirates will send left-hander Bailey Falter (2-2, 4.34 ERA) to the mound in the series finale. Falter gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies last Sunday.

“I thought he was good,” Shelton said of Falter. “He got touched up there in the (second) where he just left fastballs over the middle. It looked like every other inning, the fastball command was really good.”

The 27-year-old Falter has gone 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA across three starts spanning 18 1/3 innings at home this season.

Yan Gomes has two homers in five at-bats against Falter, who is 0-3 with a 10.67 ERA in six career appearances (three starts) vs. Chicago.

The Cubs are monitoring the status of infielder Christopher Morel, who left Saturday’s game during a 2-hour, 20-minute rain delay due to right knee soreness.

“It just kind of got sore as we sat down after the day, so nothing in particular and not too concerned about it,” Chicago manager Craig Counsell said.

Pittsburgh placed third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes on the 10-day IL before Saturday’s game and recalled shortstop Alika Williams from Triple-A Indianapolis. Hayes is batting .240 with one home run and 11 RBIs.

–Field Level Media

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