Kyle Hendricks ended his August with one of his best starts in 2018.


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The right-hander will try to carry that success into September and help the Chicago Cubs grow their lead in the National League Central on Saturday night.Hendricks and the Cubs are facing the Philadelphia Phillies in the middle game of a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Right-hander Zach Eflin will be on the mound for Philadelphia.The Phillies [url=http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-felipe-vazquez-jersey]Felipe Vazquez Jersey[/url] , who havent won any of their last seven series, beat the Cubs 2-1 on an Asdrubal Cabrera walk-off homer in Friday nights opener. Philadelphia (72-62) narrowed its deficit to two games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East after the victory.Article continues below ...Despite the Friday loss, the Cubs (79-55) have still won eight of their last 10 games. Their lead was four games over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central after Fridays loss.Hendricks was part of the Cubs recent success in his last outing, throwing seven scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds while giving up just two hits. It was the third time in 27 starts this season that Hendricks has thrown seven or more shutout innings.Hendricks (10-10, 3.86 ERA) has pitched seven innings in both of his last starts, giving up just two runs in the outings. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said one of Hendricks off-speed pitches has made a significant difference.The difference for me is the deception on the changeup is back, Maddon told reporters after Hendricks last start. The arm speed on the changeup is there, and its not just a take pitch anymore. Theyre not reading it like they were earlier this season, so thats a big part of his success.Hendricks, 28, is 3-2 with a 3.58 ERA and 0.949 WHIP in five career starts against the Phillies. He allowed five runs across five innings when he faced Philadelphia on June 5.Eflin (9-5, 3.99) [url=http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-starling-marte-jersey]Starling Marte Jersey[/url] , meanwhile, has struggled recently. He has a 6.46 ERA and opponents are hitting .352 with a .917 OPS against him in his last three starts.He surrendered five runs (three earned) and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of a loss to the Washington Nationals during his last start on Monday.Honestly, I thought I threw the ball pretty well, Eflin told MLB.com afterward. I thought we did a good job of mixing it up. We had some good sequences going, utilized my changeup a lot tonight, which was big. It was a huge step for me being able to throw it that many times, for it to look that good. But at the end of the day, I lost the game.Eflin beat Hendricks and the Cubs in that June 5 game, going 7 2/3 innings while giving up just one run and eight hits. Eflin, a 24-year-old who has never pitched a major league game in September, is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA against the Cubs in two career starts. MILWAUKEE (AP) Told he had the day off after pitching three shutout innings in the NL Championship Series opener, hard-throwing Milwaukee left-hander Josh Hader wasnt expecting a call to the bullpen.After watching Brewers relievers blow a late three-run lead in Game 2 [url=http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-willie-stargell-jersey]http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-willie-stargell-jersey[/url] , Hader would have embraced back-to-back outings, high pitch count and all.Adrenaline can do a lot things, he said when asked if he could have pitched.The best-of-seven series is tied at a game apiece after the Dodgers dented the rest of the Brewers hard-throwing relievers in the late innings for a second straight day and won 4-3 on Saturday.While Wade Miley pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings and became Milwaukees first pitcher to get an out in the sixth inning in the postseason, the Dodgers rallied from a three-run, seventh-inning deficit for the win.Miley had thrown 74 pitches when he was removed.Look youre either too early or too late, manager Craig Counsell said. At some point, youve got to make a decision, and I thought he was going through the heart of the lineup for the third time.Milwaukee had the fifth-best bullpen ERA during the regular season at 3.47, including a best-in-the-majors 1.98 in September.But the bullpen has been showing cracks. Milwaukee pitchers made 72 appearances during the Brewers 12-game winning streak, including 24 in the first four games of the playoffs. Its a heavy workload.Other than Hader, the Brewers bullpen has allowed eight runs in 7 1/3 innings against Los Angeles, a 9.82 ERA.Milwaukee nearly wasted a five-run lead in Game 1 before holding on for a 6-5 win Friday night when Corey Knebel struck out Justin Turner to strand the potential tying run on third. Four relievers gave up four runs and five hits in the last two inningsWith the Brewers ahead 3-0 in the seventh in Game 2 [url=http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-barry-bonds-jersey]Barry Bonds Jersey[/url] , Corbin Burnes walked Max Muncy leading off the seventh, gave up a single to Manny Machado and an RBI single to Cody Bellinger. Jeremy Jeffress came in and forced in a run with a one-out, bases-loaded walk to Austin Barnes before getting Yasmani Grandal to ground into a double play.But Chris Taylor singled leading off the eighth and Turner followed with a go-ahead, two-run homer.Jeffress sat by himself quietly in the dugout after leaving the game, blowing bubble gum.Its just, you know, the nature of the game. I cant strike everybody out. I cant make everybody hit a ground ball. I am human, Jeffress said when asked how he felt mentally and physically.But right now I feel great. Its just you have to make pitches in big counts. Better results will happen.Hader, who broke a 44-year-old record for regular-season strikeouts by a left-handed reliever, had thrown 46 pitches in the opener.A travel day might allow the bullpen to reset heading into Game 3 Monday at Dodger Stadium, though Counsell said he would check with how his big three of Jeffress, Hader and Knebel felt on the day off. Knebel has thrown 31 pitches over two innings in the first two games.Jeffress blew a lead for the second time in the postseason. He wasted a 2-0 [url=http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-roberto-clemente-jersey]http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authentic-roberto-clemente-jersey[/url] , ninth-inning advantage in the Division Series opener against Colorado, a game the Brewers rebounded to win in 10 innings.For me, J.J. made one bad pitch today, Counsell said, and it cost him.Milwaukee has been using its talented young pitchers in the postseason for multiple innings. It worked in the Division Series, but that philosophy is being tested by the Dodgers.Im sure they had a scouting report before we came in, Hader said. Were going to have the days that those the bloopers fall in, and there are going to be days that those bloopers get caught. It just didnt go our way that time.
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