Kyle Hendricks misses the mark as Cubs are routed by Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks threw a changeup to the Rangers’ Jared Walsh, who lifted it over the right-field wall at Globe Life Field. Hendricks missed his spot with a first-pitch sinker to Adolis Garcia, who went the other way with it for a home run.

“Kyle’s outings all depend on execution,” manager Craig Counsell said after the Cubs’ 11-2 loss to the Rangers on Saturday. “He was just a little short on his execution tonight, and they made him pay with some hard-hit balls, and then some balls found some holes. But Kyle’s got to execute at a high level, and I thought tonight he probably didn’t execute at a high level.”

Hendricks gave up five runs in 3⅔ innings, all but one of those runs scoring on a pair of homers.

Through two games this season, the Cubs are winless. But after a hard-fought extra-inning opener Thursday, the team was routed on Saturday.

“Just gotta get back to the fundamentals a little bit,” Hendricks said. “Overall, felt decent with my mechanics and how it was coming out. So a little bit better execution, just got to get some better feel of what they’re trying to do off me here early in the season.”

Hendricks gave up back-to-back singles to begin his outing but got out of the first inning unscathed. The next two innings, he wasn’t so lucky. The veteran right-hander surrendered two-run shots to Walsh and Garcia in the second and third innings, respectively.

Taillon in town

Right-hander Jameson Taillon (strained back) joined the Cubs in Texas for the weekend to be around the team and throw his bullpen session with the major-league coaching staff.

Taillon’s live batting practice session at the Cubs’ Arizona spring-training complex on Friday, his second since the injury, went smoothly. He’d built up to about 30 pitches. Now he’s targeting 45 to 50 pitches in Arizona on Tuesday and a rehab start with Triple-A Iowa next Sunday.

Taillon will be eligible to return from the injured list April 9, and the Cubs are looking to fill lefty Justin Steele’s spot in the rotation after he landed on the IL with a strained left hamstring Thursday. But Taillon won’t be built up to a full starter’s workload by then. He hopes to throw four or five innings in his first start with Iowa.

“Short starts impact us later,” Counsell said.

So the Cubs could lean toward getting Taillon fully stretched out before activating him to avoid taxing the bullpen. In the wake of Steele’s injury, and with poor weather in the Chicago forecast when the Cubs open their home schedule next week, the rotation isn’t fully mapped out over the next couple of weeks.

Offense quiet

The Cubs managed only five hits. They forced Rangers pitchers to face more than the minimum in just two innings, hitting into three double plays.

“It was a quiet night,” Counsell said. “[Rangers starter Cody] Bradford did a nice job with the fastball up and in, changeup down and away, and the curveball. So he kept us off balance in those two corners of the plate. And their bullpen did a nice job.”

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