Hendricks isn't Just a Contact Guy, Montgomery's Great Tryout, and Other Bullets

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Hendricks isn’t Just a Contact Guy, Montgomery’s Great Tryout, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

kyle hendricks cubs featureThe first adjustment with three kids now? The morning crush on weekdays to get the two bigger kids out the door in time for me to do what I need to do in the morning so that I can still do my usual morning workout. It’s not something I want to let slip, so I can already tell I’m going to need to be more efficient in the mornings on weekdays.

Perhaps I’ll start now by wrapping this intro up instead of meandering for another paragraph or two …

  • Kyle Hendricks was brilliant again yesterday, and very much in the way that he doesn’t receive enough credit for, striking out nine Brewers in dominating fashion. The two earned runs he gave up – the product of sequencing and BABIP, because sometimes that happens – actually raised his ERA slightly from 2.03 to 2.06, but his FIP and xFIP sank. Hendricks jumped back over teammate Jon Lester in the WAR race, at 4.1 to Lester’s 3.9. Hendricks’ strikeout rate is now up to 23.1%, 11th best in the NL. Among those 10 pitchers ahead of him on the list (including his three rotation-mates, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, and Jon Lester), only one pitcher has a lower walk rate – Max Scherzer at 6.1%. Hendricks’ 3.27 FIP – fielding independent pitching – is 6th best in the NL. Even if you didn’t credit Hendricks for his ability to induce weak contact, then, you’d still have to acknowledge he’s one of the best pitchers in the National League!
  • Mike Montgomery is out of the Cubs’ rotation now, not because he struggled in the role, but because it’s time to get him back into the bullpen in advance of the playoffs (per Joe Maddon, CSN). Absent a rash of injuries, Montgomery, who has been in the six-man rotation for nearly a month now, was never going to be in the Cubs’ playoff rotation. Instead, if he was going to make the postseason roster, it would be in the bullpen. Thus, it’s time to get him back into that role for now. In five starts, Montgomery posted a 3.33 ERA over 24.1 innings (Michael lauded his most recent outing here). He had an outstanding 57.6% groundball rate and an equally excellent 24.2% K rate. You’d like to see the 12.1% BB rate come down considerably, as well as the extreme rate at which he was giving up homers (but, then, a 40% HR/FB ratio is not exactly sustainable). You’d also like to see him averaging more than five innings per start, but that was partly because of the way he was used. All in all, if you were evaluating this stretch on the numbers, you’d see a ton of promise as a starting pitcher for Montgomery heading into 2017. And if you watched him, you saw it as well. I remain super excited about the Cubs’ deft move to acquire him before the deadline this year.
  • Apparently the Cubs had enough questions about Jorge Soler’s side injury that they got him an MRI, which makes you pause for a moment, but the good news is that it didn’t show anything of note (CSN), which means Soler could be back in the lineup today or tomorrow.
  • Joe Maddon has some love for Miguel Montero, who has picked up his performance of late (ESPN).
  • A lengthy read on the behind-the-scenes of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and how it’s been to be a Cubs affiliate the last two years.
  • Presumably in celebration of its deservedly record-breaking night at the Emmy’s, ‘Game of Thrones’ is on sale at Amazon today.

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.