Cubs Observations: Kyle Hendricks' streak continues vs. Nationals

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Observations: Hendricks' streak continues in win over Nats originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

After all the trades the Cubs made this week, at least one constant remains: the success of Kyle Hendricks.

Hendricks made his first start after the trade deadline and shut down the Nationals in Washington D.C. Saturday night, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 win.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. The Cubs have experienced a lot of turnover this week, but Hendricks is still here and still dealing. He tossed seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. He retired the final seven hitters he faced.

2. Streaking: Hendricks extended his streak to 15 starts without taking a loss, dating back to May 16. Saturday was his 13th quality start of that stretch.

3. League leader: Hendricks picked up his 13th win, now most in MLB. With plenty of starts to go, he could close in on 20 victories over the next two months.

4. Another day, another big offensive showing from Rafael Ortega. The journeyman outfielder stayed hot Saturday with a 2-for-5 night that included a two-run home run in the fourth.

5. Ortega has made the most of his playing time this month. In 24 games, he’s 21-for-57 (.368) with five doubles, a triple and a home run.

"It's been a great opportunity that I've had since the beginning, especially the new guys who have been called up," Ortega said through a translator.

"It's sad to see the stars go, the players that we had here, and what they did. But I think it also gives me and the other players an opportunity to take advantage of it and stake our place here with the team.

"I think we need to take advantage of that and also continue the legacy of the players that were here, the stars, what they did. That's on us to continue."

6. Lefties: Rex Brothers entered in the eighth — Andrew Chafin’s typical inning before the Cubs dealt him to Oakland — and didn’t get an out. He surrendered three hits and a walk, and was charged with two runs. He exited with the bases loaded.

7. Debut: Codi Heuer replaced Brothers and retired all three batters he faced, allowing a sac fly, in his first appearance with the Cubs. The right-hander came over from the White Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade.

“[When he] came in,” David Ross said, “I told him, ‘Bases loaded, nobody out is how you’re starting your Cub career,’ and he handled it perfectly. 

“Got the first out and then the sac fly, and then getting that last out for us to limit the damage for us was perfect.”

8. Ross said pregame he likely wouldn't designate a specific reliever as the team's closer. Kyle Ryan pitched a scoreless ninth Saturday, walking one.

9. New guy: Andrew Romine, brother of Cubs catcher Austin Romine, made his team debut, starting at shortstop — the second shortstop the Cubs have used since trading Jayv Báez, following Sergio Alcántara on Friday. 

Romine, a 10-season veteran, went 2-for-4 with an RBI, adding a nice off-balance throw to first for an out on a grounder up the middle in the second.

10. Speedster: Johneshwy Fargas made his Cubs debut with a pinch-hit walk in the eighth. Fargas, who has stolen 248 bases in eight minor-league seasons, was thrown out trying to swipe second.

The Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Mets July 23 and called him up Friday.

On deck: The Cubs go for the series win on Sunday. First pitch is 12:05 p.m. CT. Adbert Alzolay (4-11, 4.73 ERA) and Erick Fedde (4-7, 5.05 ERA) are the probable starters.

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