Chicago Cubs: Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks for Opening Day?

Kyle Hendricks (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Kyle Hendricks (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs’ Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks. Who do you have as an Opening Day starter–or does it matter?

The Chicago CubsYu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks. Both have pitched very well, and David Ross needs to pick one for an Opening Day starter. So which way does he go? He’s got options. Darvish has countless pitches (11), but he usually uses six or seven of them. But the six or seven of them got ‘some STANK on it.’ Nevermind the four he hasn’t thrown because he’s ‘learning’ them.

And then there’s Hendricks. He’s got a four-seam, sinker, change (two of them), curve and cutter. He throws in the high-80s, but his command is perfect. Like, Greg Maddux perfect. Can you imagine the high-80s but Maddux-like control? Done. Game over.

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First off, Darvish. He didn’t have a great first year for the Cubs. He ended up with a stress reaction or a bone bruise. It took six weeks to heal, and he was done for the season. The 2019 season didn’t start well, either. In the first half of the season, he had a WHIP of 1.340–and a 2.27 SO/W ratio. He didn’t get any better with W/L record (2-4 is the 1st-half, 4-4 is the 2nd-half), but it doesn’t matter for a starter. Now, the walk rate for the second-half? Absolutely insane.

In the second half, he had SEVEN walks. Seven. So with 118 strikeouts–*carry the two*–he had a 16.86 SO/W ratio. 16.86 SO/W ratio. Also, he had a WHIP of 0.808. He was lights out for the second half. But the offense let him down, and he finished .500 for the second half. Either way? Dominant in the second half.

Now, onto Hendricks. What can I say? He’s cool under pressure. And if he’s worried? He doesn’t show it. He’s had a 20.4 WAR in his six seasons. And the record is 63-43, 20 games over .500. Still, you wouldn’t know if he’s up five or down three. Must be that Dartmouth education.

In 2016, he had an ‘outlier’ in his stat book. He had an ERA of 2.13 (best in the league) and an ERA+ of 196. Oh, and a 16-8 record. Mind you; he’s been outstanding. But that team came together and won the World Series. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

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So who’s worthy of the Opening Day starter? Darvish and Hendricks deserve the honor, that’s for sure. But in my mind, I’m giving it to Darvish. He’s a four-time All-Star, and if the second half would have been the first in 2019? Make it five.

Hendricks absolutely warrants it. He does. But a four-time All-Star like Darvish is deserving of it. So Darvish, it is.