Kyle Hendricks And Jon Lester Have Almost Been Perfect In May


Kyle Hendricks was pretty bad in April, posting a 5.33 ERA in five starts. His sluggish start to 2019 was capped off by allowing 10 hits and seven earned runs to the Diamondbacks on April 26. But since then Hendricks has pitched the best three starts of his career.

In 25 innings, Hendricks has only allowed 12 hits, one walk and one earned run in May. That includes his brilliant four-hit shutout against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, where he needed only 81 pitches for his complete game.

On Tuesday night, Hendricks pitched into the ninth and walked the leadoff hitter. That was his first walk since April 26. He only gave up three hits against the Reds, which matched his own hit total on the night.

He’s gone eight innings in his last two starts and Hendricks now has a 2.86 ERA on the season.

And it’s not that Hendricks is getting lucky either. Sure, there were a couple hard-hit balls by the Reds, but overall it’s a lot of soft contact, which Hendricks produces a lot of when he’s on.

And he’s being ultra efficient as well. He began this three-start stretch with his 81-pitch complete game. In the last two games, Hendricks has thrown 96 and 97 pitches against the Marlins and Reds, respectively.

Back in 2016, Hendricks won the ERA title, but at no point did he have a three-start stretch as this current one.

Via Bleacher Nation.

In fact, this has been the single best three-game streak of Kyle Hendricks’ entire career!
May 3rd, 2019: 88 Game Score
May 8th, 2019: 81
May 14th, 2019: 77
Average Game Score: 82
Total Game Score (combined): 246

In case you don’t know what a game score is it’s simply a metric that Bill James came up with to measure how good a starting pitcher was in a game. You start at 50 and then…

  • Add one point for each out recorded, so three points for every complete inning pitched.
  • Add two points for each inning completed after the fourth.
  • Add one point for each strikeout.
  • Subtract two points for each hit allowed.
  • Subtract four points for each earned run allowed.
  • Subtract two points for each unearned run allowed.
  • Subtract one point for each walk.

For reference, Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout game against the Astros in 1998, when he only allowed one hit and didn’t walk anyone, has the highest nine-inning game score in MLB history at 114.

Anyway, the point is, Kyle Hendricks has been amazing with a 0.36 ERA in three starts. And you know who else has been close to perfect in the month of May? Jon Lester.

Combined in the month May, Lester and Hendricks have only allowed one earned run and that came Tuesday night, when Joey Votto hit a solo home run.

That’s right, Lester has a 0.00 ERA in his first three starts in May. The duo a 0.20 ERA in six starts.

Lester missed almost three weeks with a hamstring injury, but that hasn’t affected him at all. Overall in seven starts Lester has a 1.16 ERA in 38.2 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his starts this season.

As a matter of fact, Lester hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in his last five starts. There is a tiny asterisk because on April 8, he only pitched two innings against the Pirates, but that was the game he hurt his hamstring.

But again, the point is Jon Lester has also been amazing.

Overall, the Cubs starting rotation has a 3.14 ERA this season. That’s the best in the National League.