Cubs News: The home and road versions of Kyle Hendricks

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The career of Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks has been incredibly impressive, though his home/road splits are worth looking at.

Chicago Cubs fans watched in awe Opening Night as Kyle Hendricks mowed down the Milwaukee Brewers in a complete-game shutout. Hendricks (30) is a career 3.15 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 1.11 WHIP pitcher in 979 1/3 innings (165 games), all with the Cubs. He was a postseason hero in 2016 on top of being a Cy Young finalist and ERA leader that year.

It is hard to have too many complaints about this guy. He is arguably one of the most underrated starters in the National League and he got well-deserved praise after his Opening Day start. However, his recent start in Cincinnati was not so pretty as he surrendered six runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched in a 12-7 Cubs loss.

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This has somewhat summed up his career. His road numbers are not close to where his numbers at Wrigley Field are. Some people would say, “He is only good at home” based on a handful of some bad road starts. We can look at the numbers and compare several key stats.

Analyzing Hendrick’s home/road stats

In 503 career innings at Wrigley Field, Hendricks sports a 2.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, and 42 homers surrendered with batters slashing .227/.276/.340 against him. He’s tossed four complete games in that time. This also includes a 51.1% groundball rate and a 28.7% flyball rate. Those are some incredibly impressive numbers.

The numbers on the road are a bit different. In 476 1/3 innings (83 starts), he sports a career 3.78 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 2.23 BB/9, and 53 homers surrendered with batters slashing .248/.298/.394 against him. His groundball rate is down at 44.1%, and the flyball rate is at 33.1%. This goes along with a 4.03 xFIP, which is 3.48 at home.

No question Hendricks is much better at home. He gets more groundballs; less balls leave the yard, and the command is better to sum it up as simply as possible. The sample size is pretty similar, the fact that he has made less starts at home but has pitched more innings is telling. With all that said, the numbers on the road are not horrid, just not nearly as good at home. Batters on the road still are getting on base under 30% when he is on the road.

If it also makes Cubs fans feel any better, much of his road woes have come at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Thirty-six of his career 200 earned runs given up on the road came there. He’s given up more home runs (8) there than any other park (outside Wrigley), and the Reds have a .839 OPS against him. His ERA is 6.57 there (nine starts).

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So yes, Hendricks is better at home. He has been incredible there. Though he still has had some outstanding outings on the road and it is safe to say he is still the most trustworthy guy on the staff. Hey, we all know Great American Ballpark is not a comfortable place to pitch in any way.