Cubs' Kyle Hendricks beats Brewers, but 'still a lot of work' left

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Tim Stebbins
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Hendricks sharp vs. Brewers, but 'still a lot of work to do’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

With a scoreless first inning vs. the Brewers on Friday, Kyle Hendricks was already off to a better start than his last outing.

Hendricks made his first start Friday since surrendering seven runs in four innings against the Braves last Sunday. That included four first-inning home runs in a blowout loss to Atlanta.

Hendricks had a low bar to clear but bounced back to deliver one of his better starts this season, tossing six innings of six-hit, two-run ball against Milwaukee in a 15-2 win.

“There were definitely more positives to take out of this one,” Hendricks said postgame.

Hendricks has had an up-and-down month of April. He threw less than five innings in two of his first three outings, missing another while under the weather. That gave him 11 days off between outings leading up to his return against Atlanta.

Hendricks hasn’t performed like his typical self in the early going as he's worked to get his feet under him.

“We’ve seen Kyle go through some stretches where he’s really good and some where he’s just OK,” manager David Ross said pregame. “He’s definitely looking to improve on his performance [Friday].”

Hendricks is also someone who throughout his career has gotten off to slow starts before coming on strong. In 26 career March/April starts, he's 6-11 with a 4.53 ERA.

In starts after April, he's 63-39 with a 2.96 ERA.

Maybe it's no surprise, as May nears, that Hendricks was strong for much of Friday's outing. The extent of the damage off him came on back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning.

He then worked around a double and walk to get out of the inning, ending his day.

And, importantly, he said he's 100 percent healthy.

Friday was a step forward, but Hendricks is eyeing his next start and continued progress.

"I just have to keep going with it," he said. "There’s still a lot of work to do."

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