Chicago Cubs weekly recap: Hendricks’ hot streak continues

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The Chicago Cubs continue to do some shifting, in Chicago and down on the farm. Former first-round pick Brett Jackson was dealt, Junior Lake was optioned to Iowa and Dan Straily made his Cubs debut, albeit a temporary one. Those moves aside, the Cubs continued to play close games, aside from a tough debut from Straily, and more of the same from Edwin Jackson. Can we please hide him in the bullpen like a Rule 5 pick? Please? Okay, let’s get down to it.

This Week: 3-4   Season: 53-70, 16 GB – Fifth in the NL Central

The Good: Kyle Hendricks was masterful again, picking up his third straight victory. The rookie seems to be growing more and more confident each time out. With the way he’s pitching now, that could mean good things to come.

The Bad: Edwin Jackson continues his struggles in Chicago. The veteran right-hander failed to go five innings again, and has lost six of his last seven decisions, despite stringing together some quality starts.

The Ugly: Former first-round pick Brett Jackson was traded to the Rockies. After being the “face” of the Cubs future before Baez, Bryant and Soler, the leash had come to an end for Jackson. His debut in 2012 was less than memorable, as he struck out 59 times in 120 at-bats. Jackson never found his way back, but will now have a chance to start over in Colorado.

The Cubs opened the week against division rival Milwaukee. Game one saw a great matchup as Yovani Gallardo faced off against Jake Arrieta. Arrieta did not disappoint, pitching well after coming off his worst outing of the season in Colorado. He allowed only two runs over 7 1/3 innings, but the Cubs failed to provide him any offensive help in the 3-1 loss. The highlight of the game was a sensational catch by a fan in the left field bleachers on Mark Reynolds homer in the second. The fan reached up and made a fantastic grab before swapping out balls to throw it back.

Clearly fans rarely do that, and always throw the actual home run ball back. Nor do they reveal trade secrets. Ahem, moving on.

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In game two it was Hendricks looking to stay hot against one of the NL’s best in Wily Peralta. But the odds were against Peralta, as the Cubs seem to have him figured out. And recently, nobody has Hendricks figured out. Hendricks tossed 7 1/3 innings of six-hit ball to beat the Brewers 3-0. Peralta, who was 6-0 against the rest of the NL Central, dropped to 0-3 against the last place Cubs. Tsuyoshi Wada continues to impress, and even though he’s 34, he’s been as inspiring as the youngsters. Wada was finally chased in the seventh after allowing back-to-back home runs, but had been coasting before that. He got plenty of support from the “future”, and Javier Baez, Starlin Castro, and Anthony Rizzo accounted for all four Cubs’ runs. Baez hit a tape-measure shot onto Waveland in the third, and before the crowd could sit down, Rizzo followed with a homer of his own. The Cubs went on to win 4-2, guaranteeing nothing less than a series split.

Once again Cubs starter Edwin Jackson failed to escape the first inning without allowing a run, continuing to force himself to pitch from behind. Jackson allowed five runs in his 4 2/3 innings, taking the loss in the 6-2 contest. Jacob Turner, recently acquired from the Marlins, made his Cubs debut and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless. Works for me. Let’s switch these two. In two seasons, the Cubs as a team may end up losing about 200 games. This one man is on pace for accounting for 40 of them. Something needs to change here. The Cubs keep “trimming the fat”, making moves, calling up the young kids. But somehow Jackson survives all this and runs out there every fifth day, normally with less than positive results. Jed, Theo….please, do something.