Chicago Cubs: Five key takeaways from series with Indians

Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Chicago Cubs Joc Pederson
Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

4. Cubs couldn’t solve Sam Hentges

24-year-old Sam Hentges was supposed to make his first big league start last week, but weather delayed the milestone to this week against the Cubs. The former fourth-round draft pick in 2014 made four appearances out of the bullpen this year, posting a 5.00 ERA, allowing four home runs with eight strikeouts.

A starter in the minors, the Arden Hills, Minnesota native, had by no means a “great” outing on Wednesday. He walked four batters and lasted just 4.2 innings, but Cubs hitters couldn’t seem to solve him. Hentges punched out six batters and allowed four hits, lowering his ERA to 3.29 on the season.

The Cubs had difficulty catching up to Hentges’ four-seam fastball, which topped out at 97.0 MPH, per StatCast. His primary pitch generated ten batted balls in play with an average exit velocity of 83.9 MPH, meaning the Cubs had a ton of soft contact.

5. Joc Pederson stays red-hot

Nobody has been hotter at the plate for the Cubs than Joc Pederson lately. As previously noted, his first month with the team was pretty forgettable, but after returning from the injured list, the 29-year-old is a hard man to get out. He went 5-for-10 in the series and has increased his batting average to .244 on the season.

Next. Arrieta confident he’ll miss just one start. dark

With all the injuries the Cubs have in the outfield right now, having a healthy and red-hot Joc Pederson has been key for the team’s offense. The northsiders have the day off on Thursday, but they’ll need to win at least two-of-three against a last-place Detroit Tigers team this weekend.