Joe Maddon’s always been a little hesitant in keeping Kyle Hendricks late in the games but yesterday was a different story as Hendricks enjoyed his second complete game of his career and the Chicago Cubs went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1
“I didn’t want him coming out of that game,” Maddon said.
For a young pitcher to toss a complete game is an extra special moment in their career. It ranks up there with no hitters, shutouts and yeah, that elusive perfect game. I’ve always maintained that the judge of a great pitcher is the complete games they throw. I’m certain that there’ll be many more complete games in Hendrick’s future.
“That was probably the coolest part was standing there for the ninth,” Hendricks said. “I had to tell myself that much more to keep it simple, stay within myself and make pitches.”
Hendricks isn’t one of the most finest type pitchers in the game, but in many ways he’s like the Keith Richards of the Cubs. Of course you can lose the cigarette and the cackle, all right stay with me for a moment; there’s a lot more going on with Hendrick’s pitches than meets the eye. He doesn’t dazzle you with how fast he can hurl or his number of strikeouts. He just quietly gets the job done efficiently and a workmanlike fashion.
“What you saw today – that’s what you could get out of him,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s 88-89 (mph) with the really good changeup and he broke out the hooks a couple times. But he’s good against lefties and righties when everything’s working. And he can keep the ball on the ground, which is really important in this ballpark. Right now, what you’re seeing, to me, is not a reach by any means. This is what he can look like very, very consistently.”
If Hendricks has suddenly found his groove and becomes an ace in the making, he stays pretty humble.
“I’m pretty confident, but it doesn’t really matter much,” Hendricks said. “All that matters is going out there and making pitches. It’s back to work this week, (throw) my bullpen, stay where I’m at in my lane and keep the ball down with some angle.”
I’ve come around to the fact that Maddon’s mantra for Dexter Fowler is “You go, we go” is working. Yesterday, Fowler got everything going with his second leadoff home run this season. One of the best leadoff hitters in the game, it marked his 16th leadoff HR of his career.
John Lackey gets the ball today as he looks to sweep the Phillies and extend the Cubs winning streak to five games. Game time is 2:20