Kyle Hendricks is no longer the Cubs’ fifth starter! Must’ve been that solid start in Pittsburgh!
I joke, of course, both because Hendricks was never really the “fifth starter” in any way other than it happened to be the best way the rotation shook out to open the season, and also because the switch here has nothing to do with his recent performance or that of the guy with whom he’s swapping.
The Cubs are flip-flopping Hendricks and Brett Anderson in the rotation thanks to today’s off-day, which will leave Hendricks going on regular rest in the Sunday finale in Boston, and push Anderson into the Phillies series in Chicago.
Not that you can judge a move like this solely on the basis of splits, but the Phillies have actually hit lefties better this year so far (97 wRC+) than the Red Sox (89). And the reverse is true for righties (Boston 102 wRC+, Philadelphia 98). The margins there are sufficiently small, though, that there could be any number of other combination of factors and reasons for making the change (example: Hendricks is a career -35 wRC+ batter, while Anderson is merely a -18 wRC+ batter! Again with the kidding … ).
On the whole, keeping Hendricks on a regular rhythm right now, coming off a start in which he said he felt like his mechanics “clicked” is probably a good idea. And, given Anderson’s health history, giving him an extra day when possible is also a good idea.