In the first inning of his major league debut, Kyle Hendricks gave up three runs.
In his 25.1 innings since then, he has allowed just four runs (three earned). What he has been able to do in the majors so far has been really impressive.
Hendricks spun an absolute gem in his second big league start on July 22, and it was clear that he had great location from the first pitch. The San Diego Padres scattered five hits and could not score any runs off of him, who needed just 83 pitches to get through seven frames. He earned his first major league win that night, and should have gone back out for at least the eighth inning.
He went up against Adam Wainwright in his next start, and he matched up with him much better than anyone was expecting. Hendricks allowed just one run in 6.1 innings, but the Cubs’ inability to do anything offensively gave him the loss.
This brings us to Friday’s game, where he pitched seven more strong innings. Two runs crossed the plate against him (only one was earned) as he allowed just four hits. This game also produced a couple of firsts for him, picking up his first hit and his first RBI.
Hendricks has pitched very well in his first four starts, putting up three quality starts and posting a very impressive 2.05 ERA. He does not have very high strikeout numbers, currently owning a 5.81 K/9 rate, but that is not the type of pitcher he is. He relies on location and changing speeds to get hitters out, and he has been doing that very well.
The Chicago Cubs do not have very many high end pitching prospects in their system, but Hendricks was arguably their best. He has the ability to locate his pitches very well, and has the intuition to make adjustments during the course of a game. If he continues to pitch this well throughout the rest of the season then it won’t be too hard to picture him as the team’s number two or three starter next year.
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