You can disagree with me if you want, but last night’s 4-2 Chicago Cubs victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks was all about precision pitching in the form of Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks. He’s not the most flamboyant, yeah, that’s the word I’ve been looking for, but he gets the job done by dismantling the strike zone and unassumingly lobbing the ball over the plate. Last night, he pitched 6 2/3 innings and quietly stole the thunder from Zack Greinke in front of the home crowd in the desert. Hell, Hendricks even got a hit!
“I heard a lot of comments on the bench that a lot of guys were really having a hard time picking his ball up, whether it was a breaking ball or the sinker,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “[There was] just a funny spin to it. Sometimes it happens. You just run into a pitcher that doesn’t look that overwhelming when you look on video, doesn’t look that overwhelming from the stands, but he’s hiding the ball and just spotted it. In, out, down. He did a great job. You’ve got to give him credit.”
It all goes back to the pitching. When the pitcher’s on his game, so is the rest of the team. If Hendricks can fill the back end of the rotation and keep executing his pitches the way he’s done in spring and yesterday’s game, then the Cubs are in great shape for the year.
“I don’t think there’s anything we can’t do, honestly,” Hendricks said. “We’ve got all the pieces here — we lost Kyle Schwarber, which is big for us, but at the same time we have plenty of other guys who can step in and fill in. Our staff did a good job first time through and now it’s just keep going from here.”
Not to say that he won’t have any bumps in the road but after his matchup against Greinke, the cream of the crop in the National League, Hendricks’s confidence will build just in time for the post season.
It’ll be great to see the brown twigs on the wall in the outfield, get the BBQ fired up and truly christen the start of the 2016 Chicago Cubs season.