Chicago Cubs: Who would be the No. 3 starter in the playoffs?

2 of 5

Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks – 7-7, 4.09 ERA, 174 IP, 47 BB/159 K’s

If you were to take a look at the record of Kyle Hendricks, you might not know he’s been a starter all season. With a 7-7 record, it looks like he has the record of a bullpen guy who factors into a lot of decision or a guy who came up late. But it’s 19 no decisions that have led to that record. The Cubs are 18-13 when he starts, but 19 times Hendricks hasn’t had a decision. So is that on Kyle or Maddon? The answer is somewhere in between.

Hendricks has struggled to keep his pitch count down, and that’s forced the hand of Maddon on more than one occasion. Strikeouts per nine are up from last year (8.3 from 5.2) as are walks per nine innings (1.7 to 2.2). You don’t have to be a math major to know that both of those lead to more pitches. The long ball has plagued him as well, which is a familiar story with all three of our potential No. 3 starters.

The Pirates have hit Hendricks pretty hard, tagging him for a 6.63 ERA in 19 innings against the Bucs. They’ve also connected for five home runs against him, most of any opponent faced. To be fair, he has started more games against them than any other opponent, but even if he’s riding a “hot hand”, the Pirates have seen him often and he hasn’t fooled them thus far.

PREDICTION: Kyle is likely to be slotted in as the No. 4, and it will be on a short leash as it’s been all year. Maddon won’t have the bullpen depth to do what he wants, but he still has guys like Clayton Richard and Travis Wood that could help in a short outing.

Next: Trying to rekindle first half fire