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Kyle Hendricks shuts down Brewers in Cubs’ 3-0 victory

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks lowered his ERA 1.73 with 71⁄3 scoreless innings Tuesday against Brewers. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks lowered his ERA to 1.73 with 71⁄3 scoreless innings Tuesday against the Brewers. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

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Updated: September 14, 2014 6:42AM



One of the Cubs’ top rookies did it again Tuesday, this time against the Milwaukee Brewers.

And we’re not talking about second baseman Javy Baez or center fielder Arismendy Alcantara.

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks, the Dartmouth graduate with deceptive stuff and exceptional command, beat a first-place team for the second time this month, pitching 71/3 innings in the Cubs’ 3-0 victory against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

With all the player-development focus on power hitters and shortstops, Hendricks quietly has shown up with a less-than-blazing fastball and spent six starts suggesting he deserves a spot in the Cubs’ 2015 rotation, if not a place in the long-term rebuilding plans of the front office.

‘‘It’s unbelievable,’’ Hendricks (4-1) said of his confidence and the eye-opening start to his career. ‘‘Every time I go out there, I’m feeling confident I can make pitches. It grows each start. The work between starts with [pitching coach Chris Bosio] is unbelievable. The team is playing great every time I go out there, making plays behind me. I couldn’t ask for any more.’’

Except maybe to be a part of the Cubs’ future.

‘‘I think people can get caught up in that,’’ Hendricks said before the game. ‘‘Right now, I’m just trying to go day by day and just get my work done.’’

His work against the second-highest scoring lineup in the National League lowered his ERA to 1.73, including 1.01 in his last five starts. During that time, he has averaged seven innings.

‘‘He’s a very poised young man,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘I hope he’s making believers out of a lot of people.’’

The Cubs plan to add pitching during the next year, be it through free agency or trades.

But Hendricks, who beat the Dodgers on Aug. 1 in Los Angeles and followed that up with a victory last week against the Rockies in Colorado, is gaining support for a place in the Cubs’ pitching plans next season.

Whatever his future might hold, Hendricks said he and the other prospects feel the promise
of opportunity.

‘‘The energy in the clubhouse is unbelievable with all these young guys,’’ he said. ‘‘We have a great team. We’ve been able to win a little bit lately, and we’re just going to try to keep it rolling.’’

NOTES: First baseman Anthony Rizzo’s home run in the sixth was his 26th and first since July 22.

† Recently acquired left-hander Felix Doubront threw 80 pitches in a rehab start for Class AAA Iowa. Doubront (calf) allowed three runs and four hits, struck out seven, walked two and hit a batter in four innings.

Doubront, who was acquired two weeks ago from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named, is a candidate to join the Cubs’ rotation in the next few weeks.

† Right-hander Dan Straily, who was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in the trade for right-hander Jeff Samardzija last month, turned in his best start at Iowa since the trade with six scoreless innings Monday. He is working on rebuilding his velocity.

† Rookie Arismendy Alcantara broke a 4-for-34 slump with a single and a double.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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