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Kyle Hendricks turns in one of his best outings ever in Cubs win

1 year agoAndy Martinez

David Ross tried to taper expectations for Kyle Hendricks as the veteran righty worked his way back through an arduous rehab process following a capsular tear in his right shoulder last season.

On Saturday in San Francisco, Hendricks showed there’s still plenty in the tank — and the ability to be a game-changer in the Cubs’ rotation.

Hendricks turned in his best outing of the season — and his best outing in at least the last three seasons — tossing 8 shutout innings, carrying a no-hit bid through 7.2 innings and stymying the Giants offense en route to a 4-0 win. In 4 starts this season, Hendricks has a 3.09 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. 

“It feels great for confidence, obviously,” Hendricks told reporters after the outing. “I knew I had been feeling good and making a lot of good pitches [in the first 3 starts], but just to get the results adds to that confidence level.”

The righty kept San Francisco hitters off balance all day, inducing 13 groundball outs, striking out 3 and allowing just 1 baserunner, a walk to Michael Conforto, before Mitch Haniger’s two-out double in the 8th broke up his bid for the 18th no-hitter in franchise history.

“You realize pretty early what you’re doing,” Hendricks said. “I’d realized I had walked a guy already so I didn’t wanna pitch around guys to get it, necessarily, I just wanted to stay on the attack, keep making my pitches and whatever happens, happens.”

Hendricks changed things up for this start — he called his own pitches using the PitchCom device, taking the duty away from rookie catcher Miguel Amaya. Ross said Amaya and Hendricks were having some issues “trying to get on the same page” in his last outing in San Diego, so Hendricks took that duty on himself. 

“It was more for rhythm,” Hendricks said. “Miggy was great back there, just good targets and we made some great adjustments between innings. Just realized what they were trying to do, would come in in between innings really talk through it and he saw some really good things from them, especially their lefties, getting on top of the plate a little bit.

“So, made some good adjustments as we went through the game and just really helped with the rhythm overall.”

In the 3rd inning, Mike Tauchman made a spectacular diving catch in center field to rob Brandon Crawford of extra bases. Tauchman raced to the warning track in center, leaping out and rolling over as he made the stellar catch that would prove to be crucial in Hendricks’ attempt at history.

You go hard for something and sometimes you know you got a shot at it and sometimes you’re not so sure, but that’s why you go hard after everything,” Tauchman told reporters. “Off the bat I didn’t think I had a great shot at it, but that’s why you go hard just in case. Fortunately, I was able to make a play for the boys.”

Other than Crawford’s fly ball and Haniger’s double, the Giants really never threatened Hendricks — they had just 2 batted balls with an expected batting average over .500, per Baseball Savant. The Giants’ 2 hardest-hit balls were groundouts.

I mean that’s pretty darn good,” Ross told reporters after the game. “I think there was just a next level of conviction in every pitch with him in control of things. The rhythm was great. I thought he was on the edges. The changeup just got better as the game went on.”

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