Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs beat the San Diego Padres, 1-0, on Monday afternoon.
Hendricks has already been tabbed as the Cubs Opening Day starter, and in consideration with that honor also got the team’s first opportunity to take the bump in spring training. So far, so good for Hendricks, as he pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only two baserunners — one a walk and another via a lone base hit allowed.
A small amount of fans were allowed to attend Monday’s game (1,636 to be exact), but it gave the contest a feel of normalcy, something baseball has been missing for upwards to a full year.
Kyle Hendricks and the entire Cubs team took notice of the fans in attendance
“Walking out there and seeing fans in the stands, having people cheer — we’ve really, really missed that,” Hendricks said. “You saw it from all the guys. Everybody was out there. Everybody was upbeat, with a little more energy today. That was so cool, just getting back to somewhat normal, having fans out there.”
The Cubs hope to keep that same energy not just throughout the spring, but into the regular season. Chicago is predicted to finish either second or third in the National League Central, depending which pundit you ask. PECOTA, for one, has them winning 85 games.
Hendricks will be a key cog in the Cubs rotation, hoping to lead by example while Chicago replaces the production lost by Yu Darvish and Jon Lester. It’s impossible to deny that group got significantly worse when dealing Darvish particularly, but the Cubs remain optimistic heading into the season in what could be a wide open NL Central or Wild Card race.