Hendricks throws first WP in ... how long?

Until Friday, Cubs righty had longest active streak in Majors

April 20th, 2019

CHICAGO -- If there was one statistical achievement that provided an apt summation of the pitcher and person, it was the streak. In both personal demeanor and professional approach, Hendricks is collected and precise. Wildness would never enter into the equation.

So it was perfect that Hendricks had not thrown a wild pitch in three years. Alas, even the most fitting feats must end, and Hendricks' aversion to wild pitches -- a streak that lasted for 6,662 pitches -- finally came to an end in the second inning of the Cubs' 5-1 win over the D-backs on Friday at Wrigley Field.

"That's insane," Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. "Insane."

With Arizona's in a 2-2 count, Hendricks fired a changeup that descended to the dirt in front of Cubs catcher . The pitch hit the ground and skipped between the catcher's legs, bouncing to the brick wall behind him as hustled from second to third base. The official scorer elected not for a passed ball, but instead deemed the pitch wild.

And The Streak was over.

Hendricks had no issue with how the scorer called the play.

"That's all right," said the pitcher. "Willy's always got me."

If you can believe it, Hendricks said he did not realize in the moment that his streak had concluded. The right-hander said he learned that his wild-pitch clock had been reset to zero after he headed back into the clubhouse following his seven-inning, 11-strikeout performance.

"I had no clue when I was out there. Literally no clue," Hendricks said with a chuckle. "I just said, 'Oh, bad pitch. On to the next one.' But then somebody told me when I came in here. I got a good laugh about it."

Hottovy said the changeup in question had ingredients conducive for a wild pitch.

"We were talking about it," Hottovy said. "That's a hard pitch for a catcher to block with a guy who never bounces a changeup. And then all of a sudden, it's the one that kisses the dirt and shoots back."

Hendricks' last wild pitch came on an 0-2 offering to Kirk Niewenhuis in the home half of the sixth inning during a 7-2 win over the Brewers on Sept. 5, 2016. The right-hander logged one more pitch that day and did not look back until Friday's anomaly against Arizona. Only looking at regular-season outings, Hendricks made 5,990 throws between wild pitches.

The run included 374 more pitches in 2016, plus 2,276 in '17. Hendricks logged 3,051 more pitches in '18 and then 257 in '19 going into Friday's start, when pitch No. 32 eluded Contreras. If the postseason is included, Hendricks' streak featured another 672 pitches.

According to research by MLB.com, Hendricks' 378 innings without a wild pitch marked the longest active streak, with Darren O'Day coming in second at 256 frames. It represented the seventh-longest streak this century, with lefty Mark Buehrle topping the unique chart with 564 2/3 innings without a wild pitch. Hendricks' run was also the longest since had a 448-inning streak snapped on June 5, 2017.

The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that the longest such streak on record in MLB history was a run of 1,174 innings without a wild pitch by Ray Lucas from April 16, 1929-Sept. 7, 1933. That run came between stints with the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.

Hendricks ended his outing on Friday with 68 pitches that found Contreras' glove.

"Time to start a new streak," said the pitcher.