CLEVELAND -- Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood were allowed to remain in Chicago to prepare for their starts Thursday and Friday against the National League Central rival Milwaukee Brewers.
In the meantime, Kyle Hendricks performed the latest mastery by a Chicago Cubs rotation that continues to pitch with precision and take pressure off the rest of the team.
Hendricks, pitching at Progressive Field for the first time since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, limited the Cleveland Indians to one run in six innings with a plethora of changeups and sharp curves Wednesday night as the Cubs won 7-2 to complete a two-game sweep.
Hendricks didn't walk a batter for the third time in four starts, and this marked his 33rd consecutive start with two walks or fewer since April 7, 2019 -- the longest streak by a Cubs pitcher since Bill Hands did it in 37 consecutive starts from Sept. 11, 1967, to April 13, 1969.
Hendricks' last free pass was an intentional walk issued to Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds on July 29.
That's extremely impressive, considering Hendricks hadn't pitched since Aug. 4. After a four-day break caused by the postponement of the St. Louis Cardinals series last weekend, Jon Lester and Hendricks limited the Indians to two runs on 10 hits and two walks in 12 innings.
The starters' ERA has dipped to 2.65. And that's without Jose Quintana, who threw three innings in a simulated game Tuesday. Before Wednesday's game, manager David Ross said there is no timetable to return for Quintana, who has yet to pitch this season because of a cut nerve in his left thumb.
Ross said Darvish and Chatwood were encouraged to stay at home because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Hendricks worked his last two innings without Willson Contreras, who was ejected after disputing a checked-swing third-strike call by plate umpire Tim Timmons and slamming his bat as he walked away. Ross inserted Victor Caratini behind the plate, which cost him use of the designated hitter. The Cubs used pinch hitters for that spot the rest of the way.
The Cubs dugout was chirping at Timmons from the outset. Ross could be heard from the press box yelling, "That's a ball," after a called strike on David Bote in the fourth.