Who needs stuff? Apparently, not Kyle Hendricks.
For the first time in a decade, the Chicago Cubs have won a series at Coors Field, taking 2 of 3 from the Colorado Rockies when they won 6-2 on Thursday. Hendricks played a big part in that, going 8 innings, fanning 4, walking only one and posting a quality start in the process, his fourth straight quality start in only five career appearances.
Here’s somebody whom the Cubs should be excited to have. He’s a 24-year-old right-handed arm who has shown to be very reliable so far in his big league career. Every start he’s made for the Cubs has lasted at least 6 innings.
Perhaps the biggest story in that game Thursday was Javier Baez’s multi-homer performance in only his third career game. It was a show, to be sure. That said, Hendricks got the job done yet again. So what if he doesn’t have a 99 MPH fastball? That’s probably a good thing with how prevalent Tommy John surgery has been in the past year. His control speaks for itself. He has off speed pitches to rave about.
In a year in which the Texas Rangers just don’t have luck on their side, perhaps Jon Daniels would like to have his former prospect back right now. Hendricks was traded to the Cubs in 2012 in the Ryan Dempster deal.
Needless to say, this is one of the best moves Jed Hoyer has made as General Manager under the Theo Epstein regime. If this team is to make a serious World Series push 2-3 years down the road, then there’s no reason to think Hendricks can’t be a key player. Even if he doesn’t have ace-like stuff, if he can perform at an effective level like he is doing now, the Cubs will be fortunate to have him for years to come.
At first glance, it may not seem impressive since the Rockies have the worst record in the National League, but Hendricks has pitched well against teams who are serious World Series contenders. In the only career loss he has had so far, he held the reigning NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals to 1 run in 6.1 innings July 22. Unfortunately for him, his team couldn’t give him any run support in that game. He went 7 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers Aug. 1. The rookie allowed 2 runs, only 1 was earned and limited the Dodgers to just 1 walk. He may be new, but that potential is there.
His next start should be next week in a four game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers. It’ll be one worth watching for sure.
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