Mills follows Hendricks, but can't duplicate success in loss to Twins
This might be a spot to use the pointing Spiderman meme if anyone was so hopelessly unoriginal.
Yes, Alec Mills and Kyle Hendricks are similar pitchers in the fact that they don't throw especially by major league standards. They rely on mixing pitches and pinpoint control for their success.
Pitching them back-to-back in the Cubs' rotation isn't necessarily a problem, since Mills tossed a no-hitter in Milwaukee last Sunday roughly 16 hours after Hendricks faced the Brewers.
Mills was back on the mound Saturday night at Wrigley Field, but he couldn't match his own no-hitter or even Hendricks' 8 shutout innings on Friday.
Mills seemed to run out of steam during Minnesota's 5-run seventh inning and the Twins won 8-1, ending the Cubs' five-game win streak. Their lead over St. Louis in the NL Central is 4½ games with eight left to play.
Before Saturday's game, Cubs manager David Ross said he thinks the similarities between Mills and Hendricks only go so far.
"There was talk early on that maybe those guys are too similar and we need to split them up," Ross said. "They do seem similar, if I had to guess you're probably talking about velocity. Velocity is a dynamic in pitching, but it's not everything. Alec presents a different curveball than Kyle, then I would say Kyle's changeup is different than Millsy.
"So a little more crossbody with Millsy, deception, a little more run, where I think Kyle's got a little more sink to his ball. I know they seem similar because of velocity, but I wouldn't say they're that close for me. But that's just me. But it's a joy to watch them take the ball and carve hitters."
Mills' bid for a second consecutive no-hitter didn't last long. Eddie Rosario homered with two outs in the first inning. Mills kept the Twins in check until the sixth, when a Rosario single drove home pinch-runner Jake Cave.
To start the seventh, Mills gave up a long home run to Miguel Sano, then left the game when Max Kepler hit a double that bounced off Kyle Schwarber's glove and disappeared into the ivy.
The situation only got worse as reliever Josh Osich couldn't get an out, although an error by Javy Baez on a fielder's choice didn't help. Then Duane Underwood surrendered a pair of run-scoring singles and Minnesota was in command. Osich was charged with 2 runs while 1 was unearned.
Mills was officially credited with a quality start since he was tagged with 3 earned runs over 6 innings, with 7 strikeouts.
The Cubs managed just 1 run for the second straight night. Twins starter Michael Pineda (2-0) made his fourth start of the season after finishing a suspension for a failed drug test last year.
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