Kyle Hendricks needed just 81 pitches to finish off the complete game shutout against the Cardinals in Friday's matinee at Wrigley Field.
It was a masterful pitching performance by Hendricks, and it was the type of game Cubs fans have been anxiously waiting for after his dismal start to the season.
We may our Minimalist Score (MS) winner of 2019 today from Kyle Hendricks - Currently 8.0 IP with 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks, with an MS of 5.— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) May 3, 2019
MS = the lowest sum of ER + Hits + Walks + Ks with at least 8 IP. The lows past few years have hovered a 4 MS.
Consider my breath bated.
Hendricks allowed just four hits over the nine innings while striking out three batters, but the most impressive stat is that he threw just 81 pitches, 63 of which were strikes.
When you do not have the high velocity as most pitchers in the MLB, it is important to locate and throw strikes consistently. Hendricks did just that as 78% of his pitches were in the zone, shutting down the Cardinals offense despite the lack of velocity. Not to mention, his sequencing and selection was on point, keeping St. Louis off-balance all game long.
Kyle Hendricks, 86mph Fastball (Called Strike) and 78mph Changeup (Swinging Strike), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/jDjy3onFTP— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 3, 2019
Hendricks was just 1-4 with a 5.33 ERA entering today's matchup with the Cardinals, but he allowed all Cubs fans to forget about that as he tossed a gem and showed us all the pitcher he can be.
The change of speeds and movement that Hendricks had on both his fastball and changeup allowed him to keep the Cardinals hitters at bay all game long.
This performance is a rarity in a day and age when pitchers rely so heavily on the strikeout that their pitch counts tend to leave the results of games up to the bullpen. It has been seven years since someone displayed the control and finesse that Hendricks showed on Friday, and it may be another few before we see it again.