After plenty of debate and speculation, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross has announced that Kyle Hendricks will get the ball for the team in Game 1 of the Wild Card series against the Miami Marlins.
Hendricks, who posted a 2.88 ERA and a 6-5 record in 12 starts this season, edged out Yu Darvish for the starting role in Game 1, with Ross citing his years of experience and his ability to step up on the big stage in discussing the decision.
“What he’s been through in his career and the stages he’s been on and the way he’s performed, it’s very comforting from my seat when he takes the ball,” Ross said. “I know he’s excited. I’m excited.”
Hendricks certainly has pitched on some big stages before. In addition to being the Cubs’ Opening Day starter this year, Hendricks has had some big-time postseason starts in his career, with none bigger than getting the ball in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series in Cleveland.
In 10 playoff starts and 11 total appearances, Hendricks has a 2.98 ERA and has struck out 48 batters while surrendering just 13 walks in 51.1 innings of work.
Hendricks finished second in the National League this season in innings pitched, and has been absolutely dominant at Wrigley Field, with 34 strikeouts and just three walks in 43.2 innings. He has a 4-2 record at Wrigley this season, with a 1.85 ERA to his credit.
Ross says that he would have felt comfortable with either starter on the mound, complimenting Darvish and saying that he feels like the team has multiple options at the top of the rotation.
“I really feel like I have two aces,” Ross said. “I’m glad we’ve got those horses, and I’m excited to watch Kyle take the ball tomorrow.”
Darvish will get the ball in the second game of the series for the Cubs, which will take place Thursday at Wrigley Field.