The Chicago Cubs are about to get long-awaited reinforcements on the mound.
At 22-26, it would be difficult to categorize the Chicago Cubs‘ season up to this point as anything other than a disappointment. There have been rumors of potential roster shake-ups and there is a palpable angst plaguing the fanbase.
And yet, the Cubs have lost a lot of close games this season. There’s reason to believe Chicago has the talent to turn things around — in fact, that might be statistically probable.
If Chicago fans were looking for more reasons to engage in cautious optimism, the team’s latest injury report provided it.
Chicago Cubs pitcher set to make long-awaited return to mound
After missing the last year to a capsular tear in his shoulder, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks is set to pitch Thursday’s game against the Mets.
Hendricks will rejoin a strong Chicago rotation of Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly. The Cubs currently rank 10th out of 30 teams in collective ERA. Hendricks has a respectable career ERA of 3.46, with 87 wins and 61 losses to his name.
The Cubs fandom should, of course, exercise patience with Hendricks. It can be difficult to return to the mound after such a long absence. Rust is to be expected.
On the other hand, Hendricks has the chance to bounce-back after a year away from the game. In his last full season (2021), Hendricks allowed the most hits in baseball. His ERA ballooned to 4.77 and his strike out average dipped. The Cubs could use the Hendricks of old — the one who posted the best ERA in baseball in 2016 at 2.13.
Hendricks has one year left on his contract after this, but the Cubs have the option to buy him out in advance of the 2024 season.
Chicago needs all the help it can get to right the ship. Hendricks is capable of providing a significant boost, but it’s fair to wonder how quickly he will return to form — and what exact form he will be in.