Chicago Cubs: A resurgent Kyle Hendricks could be a difference maker

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Productive Kyle Hendricks changes things

This season, Hendricks hasn’t pitched up to his abilities. Not even close. He fails to keep the ball in the yard nearly every time he takes the ball and, even when ahead, he’s not putting away hitters like he has in the past.

In nearly fifty fewer innings, he’s just one home run shy of tying his 2017 total. And, for reference, despite being 14 starts lighter than he was in 2016, he’s already served up more long balls than he did then.

Since 2015, Hendricks’ strikeout-to-walk ratio trended downward. That’s continued this season, as well. And when you can’t break 90 mph, location is everything – something I’m sure he’s well aware of. When he misses (which has been quite often), he’s missing up – and paying the price.

There’s still a lot of baseball left this season. Right now, though, I don’t know how confident I’d feel giving him the ball in a must-win game. Here in early July, there’s just one guy on this staff who fits that bill and it’s Jon Lester.

The starting rotation not only should be the strength of this team. It needs to be. When you’re trotting out names like Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish out behind your ace, there’s no excuse for not competing.

Next: After cold start, Happ turning the corner offensively

As the longest-tenured member of the rotation, it’s on Hendricks to lead the revolution.