CHICAGO – Twenty-seven years ago a young, crafty right hander took the mound at Wrigley Field with the lights shining and the October chill in the air.
October 4, 1989 was the first postseason game for Greg Maddux as the began the National League Championship Series against the Giants. It certainly would not be the last for the future Hall of Fame pitcher’s 23 year career in which he finished with 355 wins.
Kyle Hendricks was a little luckier than him. The right-hander got a chance to pitch in the playoffs twice in his second season in the majors and now enters his third with another shot at the postseason.
Just like Maddux he will be on the hill in the playoffs against the Giants at Wrigley Field on Saturday hoping to get the Cubs closer to a series victory. When Hendricks takes the mound, Bruce Bochy might mistaken one for the other.
“He’s a Maddux-type pitcher, he’s is cerebral, great stuff, great command, moves the ball around well, and it’s been awhile since we have seen him,” said Bochy complimenting the Cubs’ starter.
It has been since May 22nd since the Giants saw Hendricks allow just one run over 5 1/3 at AT&T Park. The memory of that performance to stick with Bochy over the last five months to make what has become a common comparison for the Cubs’ pitcher this year.
Like Maddux Hendricks uses his control and location to be effective, inducing soft contact that allows him to succeed without overpowering hitters. His style came to fruition this season as he went 16-8 with an MLB-low 2.13 ERA.
While the comparisons to the former Cubs’ pitcher are nothing new over the last few months, Hendricks is still taken aback when he is mentioned with Maddux.
“It’s pretty humbling at first just to be mentioned in the same sentence with him. At the same time, I can see the same types of pitchers in a way, using our fastballs to set up our secondary pitchers, not having the overpowering velocity, those types of things,” said Hendricks. “I have, I didn’t really dissect too much from Greg’s game pitching-wise, but mentally I think the approach he took just having simple thoughts trying to approach the game like that, just making effective pitches, I really learned a lot from that, I think, from him.”
It’s such a part of the game that you hardly ever notice it.
Unfortunately the umpires had their eye on Anthony Rizzo’s glove when he decided to creep a little closer to home plate than first place.
Per the orders of the umpire crew, Rizzo had to take off his first baseman’s glove in the third inning when he came close to home in anticipation of a bunt from Johnny Cueto.
Rizzo was tossed a glove from the dugout and play continued. Eventually he went right back to the first baseman’s glove after the play, a sequence that left manager Joe Maddon a bit baffled.
“Yeah, I talked to them before the game Randy Marsh came up to me and it’s clearly ambiguous regarding the glove. There’s no such rule, but it’s just an interpretation on their part,” said Maddon of the glove switch. “This is what they would like to see. I have no problem with it. It’s the semantics involving the first baseman’s glove and the first baseman having a first baseman’s glove.
“I still will argue the point, even though Rizzo is playing there he’s still the first baseman. So it comes down to proximity to first base. Again, it’s a semantical argument. Probably some lawyers put this whole thing together. But for me we’re happy to change gloves, it just takes a little bit longer.”
Cubs Social Media Post of the Day
Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne posted this picture on Instagram of her Cubs’ gear before Game 1 of the NLDS.
The forward has more time on her hands now after the Sky were eliminated from the WNBA Playoffs by the Los Angeles Sparks. Delle Donne missed the playoffs after thumb surgery late in the season.