Bell bottoms were in style and Nixon was in the White House the last time the Chicago Cubs started a season this hot.
Their rookie manager isn’t taking any credit for the fast start.
“I mean, I’ve got a good team,” David Ross said. “That’s what it is. We’ve got good players.”
Kyle Hendricks pitched six strong innings in his first appearance against Cleveland since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and Anthony Rizzo homered, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday night to match their best start in 50 years.
Hendricks (3-1) didn’t have much trouble with the slumping Indians, who came in batting a major league-worst .192. He allowed one run and seven hits, threw 18 straight strikes in one juncture and handled everyone in Cleveland’s lineup but Franmil Reyes, who got three hits.
The Cubs are 12-3 in their first season under Ross, matching the club’s start after 15 games in 1970.
Since taking over, Ross has preached about being positive and energetic, and the constant chatter coming from Chicago’s dugout is evidence his players are listening.
“There is nothing to complain about because the talent’s there, the character’s there, the commitment, the focus, the energy, the work,” Ross said. “It’s not easy, especially in the environment we’re dealing with now. I’ve got really good players, man.
“I just put them in the lineup and I start trying to cheerlead them on. They’re really good.”
Rizzo homered in the third off Carlos Carrasco (2-2), David Bote drove in two runs and Kris Bryant connected for a 430-foot shot as the Cubs swept the two-game interleague set.
Hendricks hadn’t faced the Indians since Nov. 2, 2016, when he started the dramatic finale as the Cubs beat Cleveland in extra innings to clinch their first World Series title since 1908. The right-hander is as efficient now as he was four years ago.
“I’m just happy that we are where we are right now,” he said. “You never know why things click at a certain time. I think we missed baseball so much being out for so long that it just gave us that little breather, and guys are really just excited to be around each other and excited to be playing the game again.”