Fun With Kyle Hendricks Domination of the Brewers: Every K, Silly Contact, Give Him the Cy Young

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Fun With Kyle Hendricks Domination of the Brewers: Every K, Silly Contact, Give Him the Cy Young

Chicago Cubs

I’m still in awe of that Kyle Hendricks performance, which missed being a Maddux by only three pitches. You could see live how masterful it was – even without considering the weird-Opening-Day context – but then you comb through the data and it just gets better.

There’s the obvious stuff, which is all fantastic and totally earned: complete game, shutout, just three hits, no walks, nine strikeouts, never threatened.

Hendricks didn’t just strike out nine, he also got 19(!) swinging strikes out of 103 pitches. For context, that 18.4% swinging strike rate is two percentage points higher than any pitcher had last season over the course of the year. It was just one start, but what I’m saying is that, last night, Kyle Hendricks was nastier than Gerrit Cole or Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander in one of their typical starts.

Hendricks also netted 12(!) groundouts in the game (61.9% groundball rate) against just four fly outs. Get that: together with the strikeouts, 21 of the 27 outs he recorded really just had no chance at all to do any real damage.

Speaking of damage, even when the Brewers made contact, Hendricks was just not getting hit hard at all:

The strikeout that stood out to me most was the picture-perfect sequence against Keston Hiura early, going up and in with the two-seamer, and the immediately going down and away with the curveball, with both pitches looking exactly the same to Hiura by the time he has to commit. The placement of these pitches is unbelievably perfect:

More fun bits:

A very happy Hendricks got some love from his teammates after the game:

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.