Chicago Cubs: Kyle Hendricks primed to be Cubs’ ace in 2018
Hendricks already has a fair amount of postseason experience
One of the defining qualities of a staff ace is being able to dominate the postseason. Usually, a team’s ace starts Game 1 of either the division or championship series to get his team a victory and the upper hand. In a career that has spanned only four seasons, Hendricks has already gained a lot of postseason experience.
Including this year’s postseason, Hendricks has racked up 50 innings in playoff games. In those innings, Hendricks has recorded a 2.88 ERA and struck out 48 batters.
During his postseason experience, Hendricks has been called upon to pitch in some big games. The first of those games came against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS. With one win standing between the Cubs and a World Series appearance, Hendricks tossed 7 1/3 innings of shut-out baseball, striking out six batters in the process.
Hendricks didn’t give in to the Game 7 pressure
Last year’s postseason schedule allowed Hendricks two starts in the World Series, games three and seven. While Game 3 resulted in a 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians, Hendricks did well to hold down the fort in Game 7. In a do-or-die Game 7, starting pitchers tend to not last long with managers quick to go to their bullpen. On November 2, 2016, a date that will go down as the greatest day in Cubs’ history, Hendricks tossed 4 2/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and four hits.
With Hendricks’s success in last year’s postseason, Joe Maddon started his young righty in Game 1 of the 2017 NLDS against the Washington Nationals. Hendricks once again proved he could rise to the occasion, tossing seven innings of two-hit baseball, striking out six and walking three.