Hendricks shows big improvement after Opening Day dud
With the offensive faucet turned off, the Cubs badly needed a strong outing from Kyle Hendricks on Wednesday and he delivered.
Hendricks tossed 6 scoreless inning on 4 hits, which was a big improvement from his Opening Day start against Pittsburgh, when he last just 3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs and an uncharacteristic 3 walks.
"It felt a lot better," Hendricks said. "Kind of from the first pitch, I was working over the ball better, I was in my lanes better, fastball command from the jump was way better than the right start. Definitely on the right track, just got to keep working on those same things and kind of get it ingrained in me and not be working so hard."
Hendricks can't help but be aware of the Cubs team-wide hitting slump, but said it didn't change his approach too much.
"You're aware of the situation for sure, but you just have to simplify even more and tell yourself, 'Keep making good pitchers and keep the team right there,'" he said. "Our guys are so good, I know if I keep the game right there, give us a chance to win, most likely it's going to happen.
"We're playing good right now. Guys are putting together good at-bats, swinging at good pitches. We were battling there late, gave us a chance to win the ballgame there. It's just all got to come together. It's a long year, so one game at a time. Definitely looking forward to going to Pittsburgh. Our guys are going to be just fine. We're putting good at-bats together for sure."
Hendricks also gave high marks to catcher Tony Wolters, who got his first start behind the plate since joining the Cubs just before the season began.
"Throwing to Tony was awesome," Hendricks said. "The communication was next level. He caught a couple of my bullpens leading up to this, preparing for it and just the pitch-calling, the target, everything really, it couldn't have been any better.
"He puts in the work, you can tell, and he talks to guys, gets to know them. He's really good at doing those things. It was a lot of fun out there being able to throw to him and it will be fun going forward."