Kyle Hendricks Has Maintained an Absurd Streak Since His Second Start of the Year

Kyle Hendricks is having an unusual season when you consider how he’s getting his results.

On the one hand, his walk rate is trending down to a new career low (which is great!), while his K/BB ratio is heading up to an all-time high (also wonderful!). And more importantly, he’s earned both with compelling peripherals, such as the highest O-swing rate and highest whiff rate of his career. He’s also posting the lowest batting average against outside of his Cy Young finalist season, despite a perfectly average BABIP.

So, yeah, a lot of things are breaking right for him.

But on the other hand, he could probably be doing a LOT better in the results department. Hendricks’ ground ball rate has evaporated to a new career low this season, while both his line drive and fly ball rates have reached all-time highs (which isn’t always a recipe for success in this era of baseball, though working up with the two-seamer is by design). Indeed, those changes are happening just as he’s also begun to allow the hardest contact of his career, too, which is why his xSLG is middle-of-the-pack in baseball.

Fortunately, none of this has really derailed his season – a 3.39 ERA and 3.1 fWAR through 26 starts makes you one of the top-30 hurlers in MLB – but it’s still a little frustrating to imagine what could be if he were able to blend the best of both worlds. I mean, we have seen him do it before.

But I’ve been digressing since the first word typed. The true purpose of this post is to point out just how awesome Hendricks was yesterday, and the almost insanely unbelievable streak we haven’t given enough notice:

Final Line: 6.0 IP, 3H, 1ER, 1BB, 7Ks

Yesterday, Kyle Hendricks wrapped up 6.0 neat innings against the Settle Mariners, who actually have one of the top-10 offenses in MLB, while recording an impressive 14 swings and misses. That’s good for a 17.3% swinging-strike rate for the day, which is well-above his 10.5% season-average, and the third highest rate he has posted in a start this year!

Hendricks wasn’t throwing particularly hard in this one (his fastball averaged under 87 MPH), But he was fooling the heck out of the Mariners. They swung at 36.4% of pitches out of the zone (Hendricks average: 33.8%) and made contact with just 65.2% of pitches in the zone (Hendricks average: 85.5%). Basically, the Mariners didn’t know when to swing, and even when they did, they whiffed.

And thanks to all the extra strikes, Hendricks walked just one batter over the course of the game, which brings us to the crazy streak.

You may have missed it in the Cubs tweet above, but Hendricks has now walked two or fewer batters in 25(!) straight starts. That’s the longest single-season streak by a Cub since 1968! And the one and only start that failed to meet the criteria this season was his first of the year … when he walked three.

So Hendricks may not be having as good of a season as he could have been, given the broader K/BB numbers, but even with regression in the batted ball department, the incredible lack of walks has helped keep him among the top-30 or so starting pitchers in MLB … again.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

more cubs news

Dansby Swanson with Two Incredible Defensive Plays Tonight (And Justin Steele is Loving It)

Justin Steele is pitching really well tonight against the San Francisco Giants. But things would've have gone quite as smoothly so far if it weren't for Dansby Swanson. Not once, but TWICE tonight, Swanson has made a Gold Glove caliber...

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Giants (8:45 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs are starting a four-game, west-coast road trip tonight at Oracle Park. Justin Steele is on the mound for the Cubs, who are running out of time to turn this ship around before the trade deadline...

A West Coast Trip? Sure, Why Not … Cubs vs Giants Series Preview

Cubs vs Giants — In case you missed our earlier conversation, the Cubs upcoming stretch looks like their toughest of the year. And unfortunately, unless they start playing a lot better — immediately — this could be it for the...

An Incredible Week for Matt Shaw Means It’s Award Time

If you have seen Matt Shaw's name a lot this past week, it's because he's been lighting up the Southern League, even more than he already was. Thus, he gets some weekly award honors: https://twitter.com/smokiesbaseball/status/1805326329404870946 Shaw, 22, was the Cubs'...

The Second All-Star Ballot Update is Still Light on Chicago Cubs

Not that you'd expect otherwise at this point, but the Chicago Cubs are not running away with the fan voting for the 2024 position player All-Star starters. You have to go deep to find any Cubs names at all: https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1805286499128328237...

MLBits: Must Read on the Pitching Revolution, Mets, Cards, Kwan, More

MLB NOTES—Once in a while, you come across a story that's an absolute must-read. The Athletic's Andy McCullough delivered that for us this morning with his feature, which helps us understand the school of logic behind the pitching revolution in...

Cubs Farm Report | June 24, 2024: Shaw Blasts Two, Scary Collision, Just Missing Out, More

CUBS PROSPECTS — Matt Shaw blasted a pair of home runs, but a scary collision stole the show in a Tennessee loss that allowed Birmingham to take the first-half division title. Cubs Prospects Report | June 24, 2024 Triple-A Iowa...

He Has Work to Do For Sure, But Making Declarations About Pete Crow-Armstrong’s Offensive Future is Silly

I got pretty annoyed this weekend when I saw a bit from Bob Nightengale's latest: "MLB scouts have insisted all season that Chicago Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong may not be the impact bat that’s been hyped, and so far they’ve...

This Next Stretch Will Define the Cubs Season – And it’s Arguably Their Toughest of the Year

The Chicago Cubs are four games under .500, eight games out of first place, and nothing seems to be going right for them. So naturally, the universe is delivering one its toughest stretches of the season. And for the Cubs,...

It Ain’t a Good Feeling, Morel’s Blast, Diaz Sticky, Martinez PED, and Other Cubs Bullets

Going outside without immediately becoming drenched in sweat. Yeah baby. Today is a win. Well, for me, I mean. I can't speak for the Cubs' prospects in San Francisco tonight ... As for last night ... another loss. Another series...

Latest News

Today’s Copa America 2024 Predictions, Picks and Odds – Tuesday, June 25

With multiple games on Tuesday's 2024 Copa America schedule, let's take a look at the betting odds for each match.We break down the betting odds for all the important games today below.Head to Fubo to watch the entire Copa America...

Where to Watch Denmark vs. Serbia: UEFA European Championship 2024 TV Channel, Start Time and Live Stream

On Tuesday, June 25 at 3:00 PM ET, Denmark (2 points) and Serbia (1 point) meet for each side's final match in Group C at the 2024 UEFA European Championship.This game will be airing on Fox Sports 1.Watch the entire...

Where to Watch England vs. Slovenia: UEFA European Championship 2024 TV Channel, Start Time and Live Stream

England (4 points) and Slovenia (2 points) meet on Tuesday, June 25 at 3:00 PM ET in the third game of Group C action at the 2024 UEFA European Championship.You should head to FOX in order to see this match.Watch...

Padres vs. Nationals: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The San Diego Padres (41-41), led by Jurickson Profar, host C.J. Abrams and the Washington Nationals (38-39) on Tuesday at 9:40 PM ET.Keep reading to see how to watch the San Diego-Washington matchup in the article below.When is Padres vs....

Dodgers vs. White Sox: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

In a series opener on Tuesday, Bobby Miller will start for the Los Angeles Dodgers (48-31) against Chris Flexen and the Chicago White Sox (21-58), with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 PM ET at Guaranteed Rate Field.The article below will...

Angels vs. Athletics: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

Taylor Ward and the Los Angeles Angels (30-46) host JJ Bleday and the Oakland Athletics (29-51) on Tuesday in a series opener, with first pitch at 9:38 PM ET.Keep reading to find out how to watch the Los Angeles-Oakland matchup...

Connor McDavid Wins the Conn Smythe Trophy — on the Losing Team

After producing a historic 42 points (8 goals, 34 assists) in 24 games -- breaking Wayne Gretzky's playoff assist record -- Oilers superstar Connor McDavid won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason's most valuable player. https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/1805437656936935880 Before tonight, only...

How to Watch Royals vs. Marlins: Live Stream or on TV

The Kansas City Royals (42-37), who will give the start to Seth Lugo, host the Miami Marlins (27-50) with Yonny Chirinos on the hill, Tuesday at 8:10 PM ET.The article below will give you everything you need to know to...

How to Watch Brewers vs. Rangers: Live Stream or on TV

The Milwaukee Brewers (45-33), led by William Contreras, host Marcus Semien and the Texas Rangers (37-40) at 8:10 PM ET on Tuesday in a series opener.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading for streaming and TV options for...

Twins vs. Diamondbacks: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

In a series opener on Tuesday, Carlos Santana and the Minnesota Twins (43-35) face Ketel Marte and the Arizona Diamondbacks (38-40), with first pitch scheduled for 9:40 PM ET at Chase Field.Keep reading to see how to watch the Minnesota-Arizona...

more cubs news