The Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks will be aiming to lock up the NL ERA title against the Reds. He also has the chance to be just the sixth sub-2.00 ERA MLB pitcher in 20 years.
The Chicago Cubs will have the NL ERA leader at the end of the day, regardless of what Kyle Hendricks does today. Jon Lester is right behind him, but he’ll be pulling for Hendricks to finish under 2.00 without question. The Cubs (102-58) will look to finish off the Reds (67-93) and win their 15th game against them this season.
For Hendricks (16-8, 1.99), this has been a breakout year that a few saw coming, but not at this level or this quickly. He’s gone against the grain of top tier pitchers needing to be “power arms. He’s far from that, but he’s indeed been one of the best this year. The expectation is that Hendricks won’t pitch very deep into the game, as this is a tune-up for the postseason.
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He’ll face off against the Reds Robert Stephenson (2-3, 6.27) who’s hoping to make a good impression for next season. After a strong April in which he went 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA, his time since his September call-up has been anything but. He’s 0-3 with an 8.14 ERA and hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in those starts.
The Cubs’ Jorge Soler returns to the lineup to get a few at-bats after he missed time due to “right side tightness”. This will be his first action since Sept. 24.
Without being too technical, if Hendricks is to pitch five innings, he can allow one run and still finish below a 2.00 ERA. Maddon has said that five innings would be “a lot” today, so that may be the cutoff.
Here are the lineups for the final regular season game of 2016:
Today’s finale will be carried on WGN and the radio broadcast will be on 670 The Score. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. CT at the Great American Ballpark. Be sure to check back for more Cubs news throughout the afternoon!