Hendricks shakes off slow start and helps save Cubs bullpen

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Kyle Hendricks throws a pitch in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday in San Francisco.

    Chicago Cubs' Kyle Hendricks throws a pitch in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday in San Francisco. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/6/2021 9:33 PM

The Cubs were obviously looking for a slump-stopping performance from Kyle Hendricks on Sunday, especially since the previous three starting pitchers during the series in San Francisco didn't complete 5 innings

But that wasn't looking good when he gave up 2 runs and threw 28 pitches in the first inning. Hendricks gave up a third run in the second inning, then found his groove and pitched into the seventh.

 

After the game, Hendricks said he wasn't all that unhappy about his early-game performance on the mound.

"Today, honestly in the first, I made a lot of good pitches there," Hendricks said after the game. "I wasn't displeased with any of those. The only one I would want back was in the second inning to (Buster) Posey. I can't make that mistake there, with a guy on third, two outs with two bases open. That's really the only pitch I'd want back."

It felt like manager David Ross was showed a lot of faith in letting Hendricks pitch into the seventh inning and land at 101 pitches on the day. But what choice did he have? The Cubs bullpen needed a break.

"I think there's just the times in the season where some things kind of go awry with the other starts," Ross said. "A couple short outings from the starters and we needed some length out of him. He's done that twice now and really picked us up that game in Detroit (on May 16). We taxed that bullpen really hard and he picked us up today where we could just use some of the back-end guys."

Hendricks had one blip on the radar in the fifth inning. He threw a slow, awkward pitch to Steven Duggar that was so out of character, the Cubs trainer came out to check on him.

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"I was lost out there," Hendricks said with a laugh. "I don't really shake (off pitches), so I was expecting the heater inside. We kind of just got crossed up. (Catcher P.J. Higgins) set up away and I didn't have time to think. I should have just stopped, obviously and not thrown the ball.

"But I was halfway through it and I was like, 'What do I do?' I didn't want to make a mistake or anything, so I just lobbed one up there, ball two. Let's just move on. That was very strange. Now I'll know what to do next time, just stop and not throw the ball."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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