Kyle Hendricks has always been a home cooking kind of pitcher. During his career, he’s always been a better pitcher at Wrigley Field than on the road and so far in 2021, that hasn’t changed.
With the Cubs three games out in the division and opening a three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday, Hendricks needs to keep it rolling. Over his last three outings, the right hander seems to have righted the ship, working to a 2.70 ERA in the process.
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Now, he’ll have to silence a St. Louis team that boasts a +20 run differential this season with the top spot in the NL Central at stake. The only problem? Hendricks hasn’t been consistent this year – and will need to get the job done on the road in the opener.
Last year, Hendricks was near-unbeatable at the Friendly Confines. He made six starts at home and six on the road during the pandemic-shortened campaign and the results offered a stark contrast depending on where he pitched.
- Home: 6 GS, 1.85 ERA, .195 AVG, 11.33 K/BB
- Away: 6 GS, 4.06 ERA, .287 AVG, 6.00 K/BB
Control issues plagued him on the road last year. So far this season, six of Hendricks’ eight starts have come at home, so the sample size complicates an apples to apples-type comparison.
In two outings, he’s allowed eight earned runs over 11 2/3 innings of work. That being said, his last start – a one-run, eight-inning effort against Detroit was a dominant performance at Comerica.
Cubs need Kyle Hendricks to keep things rolling
Suffice to say this Cubs rotation leaves plenty to be desired. When Hendricks was struggling, it was hands-down a miserable collection of misfit toys. Even with him pitching well, Chicago isn’t built to go toe-to-toe with teams like the Dodgers or Padres.
The North Siders enter this weekend’s series with a 5.07 ERA – the worst mark in the National League, better than only two teams in all of baseball: the Angels and Orioles. Depth has been a major concern, with starters rarely pitching deep into games – which has taxed the bullpen in recent weeks.
With a 6-12 record away from Wrigley, the Cubs, as a whole, need to improve on the road. It all starts with their ace getting things off on the right foot Friday night. Buckle up. It’s time for the first Cubs-Cardinals series of the season.