Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks humble even with 2014 success
As the 2014 Major League Baseball trade deadline approached, it seemed to be a given that the Cubs’ pitching staff would be at least slightly dismantled. When top two starters Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija were dealt as a package to the Oakland Athletics, many scratched their heads as to who might fill the void.
Enter Kyle Hendricks.
It was a similar type of deal in the summer of 2012 that brought Hendricks to the Cubs. As the deadline ticked down, the last-minute deal that sent Ryan Dempster to the Rangers landed him in Chicago. That was two years ago, but to Hendricks it happened much faster than that.
"“I thought, this exact time last year I was here just watching,” Hendricks said. “It’s crazy how fast it happens. They tell us that when we’re in the minor leagues: ‘Just keep working because when you make it, you’ll look back and say it went fast.’ It definitely has. It’s been a good ride.” h/t Jesse Rogers, ESPN Chicago"
Hendricks finished the 2013 season as the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He stood where Kris Bryant and Jen-Ho Tseng stood on Wednesday night just one year ago. He is an unassuming, humble young man, and his start with the Cubs was very much the same.
He joined the team before the Hammel-Samardzija trade was made, making his first start on July 10, a 6-4 win over the Reds in which he didn’t factor in the decision. He allowed four runs in the first three innings before settling in to pitch three scoreless frames. He wouldn’t allow four runs in a start again until Sept. 10 against the Blue Jays.
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The rookie right-hander would post six consecutive quality starts after that debut, going 5-1 with a 0.84 ERA in 42 2/3 innings pitched. A rain-delayed game ended the consecutive quality start streak in his next outing, but by then the Cubs knew they had something special in Hendricks.
The Cubs have posted a 10-2 record in his 12 starts, and Hendricks has been exceptionally good at Wrigley Field (4-1, 1.53 ERA in six starts). Six times Hendricks has gone seven innings or more while allowing one earned run or less. He doesn’t do it with overpowering stuff. It’s preparation, a knowledge, and respect of the game.
Personally, when I watch Hendricks pitch, I see a lot of Greg Maddux. That may not be coincidence, as he grew up idolizing ‘Bulldog”.
"‘‘Growing up, I watched Greg Maddux a lot,’’ Hendricks said. ‘‘I’ve heard the comparisons, but that’s going to be tough to live up to. But it’s hard not to like the guy because he was a complete pitcher in every essence of the word.’’ h/t Tony Ginnetti, Sun-Times Media"
I can’t think of anyone better to aspire to be on the mound. There’s no doubt that Hendricks has solidified a future in the Cubs’ rotation. Now it’s just a matter of how much like Maddux he really can be.