How it happened: Shortstop Starlin Castro said a couple of days ago that it was going to be a lot of fun to play with new second baseman Javier Baez in the field. His bleach-white grin never dimmed while talking about it. But on Thursday, Castro was having most of his fun watching Baez from the on-deck circle. The 21-year-old Baez hit a solo home run off the left-field foul pole in the sixth inning and hit a two-run homer to right field in his next at-bat in the eighth. Earlier, Baez drove in a run on a single to left. Castro then followed Baez’s sixth-inning bomb with one of his own five pitches later.
What it means: The Cubs won their third consecutive series, something they didn’t accomplish in the first four months of the season. Two of those series wins came against a very bad Rockies team, but the youth movement seems to be pushing the team in the right direction.
Baez watch: Manager Rick Renteria wants to see Baez grind it out at the plate and, sure enough, he listened Thursday. Baez went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs. He saw 14 pitches Thursday, which isn’t a lot, but he seemed a little more patient than the day before, when he looped out on the first two pitches he saw.
Another good outing for Hendricks: Kyle Hendricks (3-1, 2.10 ERA) gave up two runs and six hits in eight strong innings of work and earned his third win in five starts. Hendricks wasn’t untouchable, but he consistently worked himself out of jams, which, of course, is the blueprint to success at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Renteria said before the game that Hendricks hasn’t hurt his chances of staying in the rotation long-term, and Thursday’s performance shouldn’t change that fact.
What’s next: Baez makes his Wrigley debut when the Cubs face the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow at 3:05 CT. Baez admitted he was excited to get to play in front of his home fans after a three-game start to his career on the road in Colorado. On the mound, Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.32) will face Chris Archer (7-6, 3.42).