Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 Topps #314 Kyle Hendricks

In a rotation with reigning National League Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta and former vote getters/All-stars/World Series champs John Lackey and Jon Lester, it would be easy to get lost in the shuffle. But Kyle Hendricks is quietly making a name for himself as he methodically shuts down the opposition.

I've been comparing his stuff to Greg Maddux all season long to anybody that would listen. Not overpowering, but very effective, able to hits his spots. And in return, I get those looks like I'm crazy. In April and May, he was piling up losses when the Cubs were on pace to match/break the team Wins record. The team run differential was ridiculous, but a month ago Hendricks had just a .500 record. It seemed liked every game he pitched, the Cubs forgot how to hit.

Right now, he has the second lowest ERA in the Majors (while Clayton Kershaw preserves his "lead" on the DL). Tonight, he starts in Colorado so we'll see if he can't keep the damage to a minimum against the only team with more runs scored this season than the Cubs. Hopefully the Cubs bats keep pace in that thin air as well.

#314 Kyle Hendricks
I'd like this shot a whole lot better if it was zoomed out a little more to include the whole glove. I know some people think criticizing the "amputations" are a bit nit-picky, but I likes what I likes. Whatever the green blob in the background is gives the Cubs red, white and blue a nice pop.

The staredown at the beginning of Hendricks' windup is much better than the exertion faces we've been getting a lot of from Topps lately.

Did I mention Hendricks was flying under the radar? Over at Getty Images, a search of "Hendricks Wrigley 2015" yielded just 114 results. And unfortunately, the first 20 or so (sorted by most recent) are from the NLCS against the Mets and mostly feature Daniel Murphy. He must have had a good game or two, I don't remember...


The green blob helped narrow this down as there were a couple other similar photos.


Of note (to me anyway) was the one above from a day game against the Giants on August 8th. I was at Wrigley on the 6th for that same series. The Cubs had a 4-game sweep of the Giants and took possession of the second Wild Card spot after that. Good times.

But anyway, back to the actual source photo. From the caption:
Kyle Hendricks #28 of the Chicago Cubs prepares to eliver the ball against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on May 26, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.
How do you "eliver" a ball? Is that an interwebs thing? Oh wait, I'm getting distracted again.

Not much to go on so we'll have to go the boxscore.




A Cubs walk-off win, their 5th of 13 last year. Woo-hoo!



As you can see by his line, a recurring problem for Hendricks' personal Won-Loss record has been lack of run support. He pitched 7 innings, gave up just four hits (one for a solo home run) and a walk but got a no decision. That's a WHIP of less than 1.
 
The game winner was an Addison Russell 2-out double which is linked here.
 
The card gets a B grade from me. Would have been an A if cropped properly. An autograph would look great scrawled across his jersey too!

6 comments:

  1. Nice post. I really enjoy reading about cards where you can tell what game the picture is from.

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  2. I think Maddux had legitimately pretty electric stuff in the first few years of his career, but Hendricks is definitely calling to mind mid-career Maddux right now. I recall hearing under-the-radar chatter about The Professor having this type of potential, probably going all the way back to when he first came up. Actually seeing it come to fruition is something else though. :)

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  3. I hope the card companies stop ignoring Kyle and he get some more cards next year especially jersey and auto!!

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