A year ago, it was not at all a sure thing that Kyle Hendricks would pitch reasonably well in 2023. Heck, it was not a sure thing that Kyle Hendricks would pitch AT ALL in 2023. Or maybe even ever again. So the fact that he’s been THIS GOOD in 2023? It’s incredible.
Dealing with a capsular tear in his shoulder, Hendricks just wasn’t right for a long time before shutting it down at midseason in 2022, and then it was a long rehab and remaking process. Tweaking the mechanics and the delivery. Strengthening the body. Improving the velocity. He put in the work to be where he is now.
Hendricks may not be the guy he was as a Cy Young finalist, but he’s pitching as well as he did in the years after 2016. And a day like yesterday – against the Brewers, to win a huge series – showed exactly why, if the Cubs are able to make the playoffs, Hendricks is going to be starting game two of that series.
More from Hendricks’ outstanding start and season …
The six innings with no earned runs allowed pushed Hendricks’ season ERA down to 3.59, the same as Zack Wheeler, just to throw a name out there, and almost within the top 30 among all pitchers with at least 100 innings. Think about just how success he’s been. It’s crazy.
Speaking of which: if not for his own teammate in Cody Bellinger, wouldn’t Hendricks right now be the favorite for NL Comeback Player of the Year? (You could probably still make an argument for Hendricks, given the nature of what each is coming back from, but I think in these situations, a guy having a season like Bellinger’s is going to get rewarded.)
When it’s on, I don’t know that there’s a more aesthetically pleasing pitch than seeing Kyle Hendricks get futile whiffs against his primary changeup:
Obviously there’s a longevity angle here, but it’s fun to see him beat up on the Brewers nonetheless:
This is just a crazy stat:
Kyle Hendricks with the regular changeup and the cut-changeup:
Kyle Hendricks is ready for what’s coming: