Hendricks All-Star bid less crazy with every start originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks couldn’t help but laugh at the reporter’s question.
Has it dawned on you that you could be putting yourself in position for an All-Star selection?
“I have not thought about that at all,” he said after the Cubs’ 2-0 win against the Mets on Thursday. “After the way that first month went for me –”
He chuckled again.
Hendricks is probably right. After the worst April of his career – and Hendricks is traditionally a slow-starter already – his six-inning shutout performance Thursday improved his ERA to a forgettable 4.13. He’s also infamously leading the league in home runs allowed (19).
All-Star pitchers and reserves are chosen by a combination of player ballots and commissioner’s office choices. There are 12 pitchers per squad.
When the National-League ERA leaders include Jacob deGrom (0.54), Kevin Gausman (1.51) and Brandon Woodruff (1.52), does Hendricks have a chance? Plus, Hendricks has never been an All-Star, and he was the league’s ERA leader in 2016.
“My numbers are still very inflated, I think,” Hendricks said, adding that All-Star is never on his mind. “So, it'd be a surprise to me. But now I'm just focused on winning ballgames here, that's really it.”
Hendricks only has a few more starts before the July 4 selection show. So, maybe it’s too late for him to pull off an All-Star bid. But the way he’s been playing lately, the idea sounds less crazy with each start.
Hendricks is on a seven-game winning streak. All seven of those games have been quality starts. Hendricks now leads the NL in wins (9).
“I know that if you look on paper nothing's going to wow you, with the stuff grades and velocity and anything like that,” Cubs manager David Ross said of his finesse ace. “But this is just the real art of pitching, and he goes out and does it every single time he takes the bump. I would love to see him in the All-Star game.”
Hendricks is at least throwing like an All-Star now.
The Cubs were on a three-game skid when Hendricks took the mound Thursday. Cubs starters hadn’t pitched past the fifth inning all series. Then, Hendricks held the Mets to two hits.
“I felt like I was battling through those first two innings especially,” Hendricks said. “Just, the timing was a little bit off, but mentally I felt great today. Mentally, I was locked in pitch-to-pitch.”
So, Hendricks gave up two doubles in the first two innings. But he stuck to the edges, avoiding any real damage.
“It’s starting to be that win day, that you feel like when he pitches, you’ve got a really good chance to win,” Ross said. “He goes out, probably not the sharpest you've seen him, and he doesn't even give up any runs.”