Cubs' Kyle Hendricks looks more like himself vs. White Sox

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Cubs' Hendricks looks more like himself vs. White Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

If the Cubs are going to do anything this season, Kyle Hendricks pitching like the top-of-the-rotation ace we’re accustomed to seeing will be a big reason why.

Hendricks had a pair of rough outings in April, including his most recent start over the weekend in Milwaukee. Wednesday’s outing against the White Sox was closer to the version of himself the Cubs need him to be.

“That was definitely more on track,” Hendricks said. “It wasn't like those two bad games I had in April. It was more along the lines of the good ones I had.

Hendricks allowed four runs, seven hits and one walk in his 5 2/3 innings. Outside of the two solo home runs he surrendered (José Abreu, Leury García), he pitched well.

He only threw 73 pitches and got nine groundball outs.

“Really just two mistakes, I think, that they didn't miss and took advantage of,” Hendricks said. “But other than that, I'm looking for consistency, so I've got to build on what I did.

“I thought I made a lot of good pitches, especially late in the game there. Really got into my mechanics, felt good angle on some fastballs, bad contact, kept the pitch count down, getting ahead of guys. Just got to keep on going.”

The other two White Sox runs came on bad contact. Gavin Sheets hit an RBI single through a shifted left side of the infield (67.5 mph exit velocity).

AJ Pollock dropped an RBI bloop single into shallow right field when Nick Madrigal was in a shift (68.3 mph exit velocity).

Sometimes you can make a good pitch, generate weak contact and still get hurt by it. That’s baseball.

“That's executing pitches and getting what I want,” Hendricks said of the Sheets and Pollock hits. “That’s just baseball. I can't control the result.

“I've just gotta keep making pitches like that and I'll be where I need to be.”

Hendricks traditionally has been a slow starter who locks in and puts together a strong stretch of starts. Last season he tossed quality starts in 14 of 16 outings from mid-May to early August.

He’s had a mix of good and bad starts through one month this season, from his seven shutout innings against the Pirates two weeks ago to the six-run, three-homer outing against the Brewers last week.

Wednesday was closer to the Hendricks the Cubs need.

“For him to be on track and just see a little bit more of the consistency that we saw tonight and probably two starts prior — his last one wasn't him — but there's moments in there,” manager David Ross said.

“I thought he pitched a pretty good game tonight. They were obviously jumping on him early and swinging the bats and being aggressive. Not a lot of room for error.”

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