The similarities between Chicago Cubs (89-48) silent stud Kyle Hendricks (13-7, 2.07 ERA) and former ace Greg Maddux are becoming more prevalent as the season stretches out into October.
Aside from poise, pitch selection, and presence on the mound, the ability to put their team in winning situations ties the two together.
Since the All-Star break, Hendricks 6-1 with a 1.34 ERA. Maddux went 10-3 with a 1.93 ERA during the second half of the 1992 season, the first year he won the Cy Young award.
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Against the Milwaukee Brewers (60-77) this season, Hendricks is 0-1 in two starts, totaling 10.1 innings pitched. His 4.35 ERA against them is a little misleading, too. Hendricks has an 8.9 K/9 rate, and a .968 WHIP, allowing only five earned runs in those two starts. For the most part, it seems as though the offense was unable to pick him up in those starts.
Today Hendricks threw six innings, giving up five hits and one earned run, striking out six through 98 pitches, even though he came away with a no-decision. He lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.07 in the process.
Coach Joe Maddon continued giving his lefties more at-bats. Tommy La Stella got the start at third base, leading off in the lineup as well, and scoring the Cubs’ first run in the sixth off of a Jorge Soler single. La Stella singled in an insurance run in the seventh as well, bringing the lead to 3-1.
Even without Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist in the starting lineup, Jason Heyward continued his hot streak by singling in his fourth RBI in the past two games in the eighth. Javier Baez followed with a RBI squeeze bunt to bring the lead to 5-1.
Brewers’ starter Zach Davies (10-6, 4.07 ERA) has had a tough time with the Cubs this year. In two starts, Davies is 1-1 with a 6.97 ERA, allowing 13 hits and eight earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.
Davies mirrored Hendricks’ success for most of the afternoon. He threw 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs, striking out three. The Brewers’ bullpen, however, was unable to keep pace, allowing the Cubs to score six runs in an 1 1/3 innings on four hits and one HBP.
Chris Cater took the only mistake that Hendricks made deep for a solo home run in the fourth inning. Brewers’ Ryan Braun launched a home run in the bottom of the ninth off of Chicago’s recent call-up Jake Buchanan.
The Cubs magic number is now 10.