Chicago Cubs’ right-hander Kyle Hendricks held the Washington Nationals to two hits and three walks over seven scoreless in Game 1 of the NLDS, striking out six batters in what ended up a 3-0 win.
“He was tricking us tonight,” Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker said after the loss, “and seemed like those kind of guys give us more trouble than guys who throw hard.”
Hendricks and his manager, Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon, noted that his mechanics were sound resulting in good movement and added velocity.
“I think probably a little adrenaline-based,” Hendricks said of the uptick in velo.
“But my last five, six starts, it's been creeping up every start. My mechanics have really been clicking, so my timing is there, where earlier in the year, my mechanics were off so I wasn't able to let it go. So when my mechanics are there, it feels good, I let it ride and I think that's probably where it's coming from.”
“You can see his delivery, how well he repeated it, pitch after pitch after pitch,” Maddon said.
“He's such a technician mechanically. You can tell immediately when he's on top of that, meeting his mechanics.”
Hendrick said the experience he’s gained over the course of eight postseason starts and his outing in Game 1 in Nationals Park, have prepared him well for the test he’s facing tonight.
“I think it helps a lot,” he said. “You have to rely on your experience and having been in those situations. You know what the atmosphere is going to be like. You know what the crowd is going to be like. All those external factors, if you can kind of keep that under control, you know the pitching part.
“You know what to do once you get out on the mound. Being able to control all those external factors, I think, is going to be huge.”
Will the Nationals be able to figure Hendricks out this time? Here’s the lineup that will try to beat the righty in Game 5 of the NLDS.