Kyle Hendricks Keeps Getting Better and Other Bullets

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Kyle Hendricks Keeps Getting Better and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

kyle hendricks cubs featureI was already nervous that today’s game – to which The Wife and I will be going – would be a frustrating one for Cubs fans. Chris Sale is ridiculously good, and the Cubs’ offense is scuffling. But you throw in yesterday’s ugly/hard luck/ridiculous 1-0 loss that included so many missed opportunities, and now I’m especially terrified for today’s game. I just have to keep telling myself to have a good time, don’t scream and stomp my feet too much, etc. …

  • One obvious huge bright spot from yesterday’s game was Kyle Hendricks, who now is working on a scoreless innings streak of 22.1. Not only has Hendricks dropped his ERA/FIP/xFIP to 3.55/3.32/3.45, but he’s becoming a sustainably excellent starting pitcher before our very eyes. Hendricks’ BABIP against and LOB% are both worse than last year (i.e., it’s not like he’s just getting lucky), and he’s managed to increase both his groundball rate (from 47.8% in 2014 to 49.5% in 2015) and his strikeout rate (from 14.6% to 19.8%), all while seeing his walk rate drop (4.7% to 4.3%). Hendricks’ strikeout rate is now above average for starting pitchers in baseball. Yes, you read that correctly: Hendricks is a better strikeout pitcher than he average big league starter. He has been anything but a “let them put it in play and cross your fingers and don’t walk anyone” fringe starter this year.
  • It’s mostly status quo on the trade market right now, according to Jed Hoyer (Daily Herald). The sellers haven’t quite yet self-identified completely, so lots of calls, but not a lot of availability.
  • I know folks get tired of hearing complaints about the strike zone, but that doesn’t make the strike zone any less terrible – like it was yesterday for the Cubs. Against righties, the White Sox got 10 – TEN! – called strikes that were outside of the zone. Against righties, the Cubs got exactly zero. That’s a little crazy.
  • There’s free shipping right now on all orders at the BN store, so get yourself a nice shirt. Just make sure you enter the promo code “FREE” when you check out.
  • Kyle Schwarber checks out Cincinnati in advance of the Futures Game.
  • I modeled my pre-swing after Kris Bryant, and I’m telling you, I was absolutely wrecking the ball:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.