Kyle Hendricks got rhythm. Kyle Hendricks got tempo. And Kyle Hendricks probably got a little bit o' soul.
Whatever the 24-year-old rookie has, the Cubs gladly will take a whole bunch more of it.
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Hendricks made quick work of the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, dispatching the Cubs' first-place neighbors 3-0 in a snappy 2 hours and 22 minutes. The heady young right-hander worked 7⅓ innings and improved to 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA since his call-up from Class AAA Iowa on July 10.
The quality start was the fifth in a row for Hendricks, who is using a tried-and-true method for success: Get the ball and throw it. There's no messing around, no stepping off the rubber and no peering in endlessly for the sign from the catcher.
"Definitely," he said. "That's something I've always done since I was little, honestly. Just pitch quick. The pace of the game is big for me. It keeps the infielders in the game. Hopefully, it keeps them on their toes. It's just my pitching style."
That kind of approach got a tip of the cap from one of those infielders.
"It's great, a 2½-hour game after a long week," said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hit his 26th home run of the season, a drive to left-center against Brewers starter Wily Peralta in the sixth inning to give the Cubs their 3-0 margin. "It's definitely nice to have. He looks very comfortable. It's nice to watch."
Hendricks came to the Cubs two years ago from the Texas system in the trade that sent pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Rangers. A bright kid out of Dartmouth, he's impressing everybody with the way he works.
"He's really got a good preparation, that conviction in what he's going to try to do," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, whose team improved to 51-67. "It translates to practical terms, how he pitches."
The exciting part for the Cubs and their fans is that Hendricks figures to be a big part of the team's future, a future that is getting here now.
Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro are young all-stars. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-3 Tuesday) and Javier Baez are up from the minor leagues, and Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler are coming fast.
"When you get to see the young men that everybody's been talking about for the last couple years coming here and you see them contribute in some way, shape or form in a positive way, maybe it starts to validate the direction the organization is going, which is good," Renteria said.
"We all understand it's been a long time. It's going to take awhile to chip away and have everybody kind of feel positive about the organization. It's kind of going that way."
Hendricks seems to be enjoying his part of the sneak preview.
"The energy in the clubhouse is unbelievable," he said. "With all these young guys … I've been saying that you need veteran presence. I think we have a great team here, and we've been winning a little bit lately. We're just going to try to keep it rolling."