Chicago Cubs: Five takeaways from Opening Weekend

Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Hendricks is in midseason form

If you haven’t been paying attention for the last six seasons, you may not have noticed how good Kyle Hendricks is. I don’t mean that to sound condescending to readers or even braggadocious on my part, but a lot of people seem to need occasional or even regular reminders about how good Hendricks can be. And I really don’t get it. After all, this is the same guy who out-dueled Clayton Kershaw and dominated his Dodgers teammates in Game 6 of the NLCS to send the Cubs to the World Series.

He’s the same guy who is 64-43 lifetime with a 3.11 ERA (2.98 in the postseason). Same guy who got the ball in Game 1 of the NLDS in Washington D.C. and outdueled a hot Stephen Strasburg. Same guy who will be fourth in career ERA once he pitches 25 more innings (he’s at 975 now)  and qualifies for the career leaderboard. The only guys he’s trailing in that category – Kershaw, deGrom and Sale. That’s it.

People just don’t mention Hendricks’ name with the rest of those guys, but that’s the company he keeps in terms of how many runs he gives up when he’s out there. If Hendricks can be the guy he was in 2016, when he finished third in Cy Young voting, the Cubs have a tremendous anchor at the top of their rotation – and that comes at a value price after Hendricks signed a below market extension last year through 2023 (possibly ’24 with vesting option).