Chicago Cubs: An inconspicuous beginning
Hendricks’ 2018 campaign got off to a strong start, as he posted a quality start in his season debut, finishing with six innings pitched, one earned run and five strikeouts. Unfortunately, it bore to be the game which went a painstaking 18 innings, before the Cubs fell 2-1 to the Miami Marlins on Opening Weekend.
It, however, would not be a testament for how the rest of the month would go. While Hendricks finished with a more than respectable 3.36 ERA throughout his next ten outings, the inconsistency caught up through April and May.
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Hendricks struck out 18.9 percent of hitters he faced and walked a measly 4.4 percent. Unfortunately, the consistency was discovered in his below-average 4.54 FIP and near below-average 3.83 xFIP. His struggles came in giving up home runs, as he contributed to a 1.6 HR/9 over that stretch. To put this in perspective, Hendricks carries a career 0.86 HR/9.
The strikeouts decreased, as well, dropping to just 6.9 K/9. Hendricks has a career 21.0 percent strikeout rate or an overall K/9 of 7.62. Almost an entire strikeout per nine less in 2018 did Hendricks no favors.
Lastly, pitch velocity increased in a minor way, while Hendricks pitch selection changed. He moved more away from his fastball, throwing his off-speed pitches at a higher rate. That being said, Hendricks was still finding a way to produce.