Cubs are hoping and waiting for improvement from Kyle Hendricks

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

Chicago Cubs starters have gotten off to an abysmal start this season. Last week the starter ERA sat at 6.00, the worst in baseball. Things did get better this week, as we watched the Cubs win five of six and the starter ERA fall to 5.32 (although still the highest in MLB). However, Kyle Hendricks has continued to struggle and we can only expect to start seeing some positive regression from The Professor.

Hendricks gave us a taste of the typical starter we know and love, going all seven innings while allowing just one run against the Dodgers on May 4. We thought this was the start that would get him on track but he had yet another setback on Sunday, allowing six runs in a loss to the Pirates. Even still, we have to expect some positive regression coming for the ace of the staff.

He has a 6.23 ERA so far this season. The worst part about his rough start is that he has four losses, has allowed 48 hits, 24 earned runs and 11 home runs, all worst in the big leagues.

It’s worrisome to see him leading the league in so many of these statistics but at least we know what he needs to cut down on for things to improve. The initial thought was that tipped pitches were the cause of his struggles but it could honestly come down to him not being as locked in as he normally is.

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Hendricks always has pressure on himself but that pressure could have mounted this year as the rest of the organization has placed so much responsibility on him to be this team’s ace. In previous years he wasn’t asked to be this team’s star, with complements of Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, etc. to round out the rotation. With all of those names gone and his name even further in the spotlight, the pressure could be getting to him early.

Things couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the 31-year-old right hander. With a career ERA of 3.22, we know there has to be some positive regression coming. The worst season Hendricks has registered in a Cubs uniform was back in 2015 where he posted an ERA of 3.95. So even when he hasn’t been his best he’s kept it under four which gives us confidence.

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He’s only four seasons removed from 2016, where he led the league with a 2.13 ERA. We know that same pitcher is still there and it may just take some time for him to adjust to his new role with this team.

The Cubs had great production from their starters this past week and we saw what they can do when they’re playing their best baseball. The potential for this team is very high but it’s important that the rotation gets things on track. If so, we could really start to see this team take off.

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The rotation starts with Hendricks and the team will only go as far as he carries it. If he can relax, gain his confidence and put out a few quality starts we will start to see the same old starter that we know and love.