Tale of the Tape: deGrom vs. Hendricks
If there were ever a time for an experienced starter, Game 3 of the National League Championship Series would be it for the Cubs and Mets. Neither team has that luxury, but they do have two young pitchers with the ability to change a game.
New York turns to Jacob deGrom in the loud environment of Wrigley Field, hoping he can build off his two quality starts in the NL Division Series against the Dodgers. Chicago sends Kyle Hendricks to the mound, hoping he can rebound from his last outing of 4 2/3 innings.
We take a look at how the youngsters stack up against each other for Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on TBS, 8 ET game time), with the Mets -- who won Game 2, 4-1, Sunday night -- holding a 2-0 lead in the Series.
Kyle Hendricks, Cubs
Against the Mets
2015: 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Career: 2 GS, 2-0, 0.69 ERA
Loves to face: Juan Lagares, .000 (0-for-5)
Hates to face: Lucas Duda, .500 (2-for-4), 1 HR
Why he'll win: Hendricks has struggled with his command, but he's been able to locate his fastball better over his past five starts (including the postseason), walking a total of two batters. Not a hard thrower, Hendricks is best when he keeps his pitches down and induces ground balls. Still, the right-hander averaged 7.4 strikeouts a game over those five starts, and he faces a team with 63 strikeouts in six postseason games.
Pitcher beware: Hendricks' command was improved against St. Louis in his postseason debut, but he couldn't make it out of the fifth inning. All three of his runs came on solo homers, which could be trouble in a close game. He's still young -- 25 years old -- and will have to handle the pressure on a bigger stage.
Bottom line: If he can control his pitches, watch out. Otherwise, it could be another short night.
Jacob deGrom, Mets
Against the Cubs
2015: 2 GS, 0-2, 6.10 ERA
Career: 3 GS, 0-2, 6.46 ERA
Loves to face: Tommy La Stella, .000 (0-for-5)
Hates to face: Anthony Rizzo, .333 (3-for-9)
Why he'll win: In the postseason already, deGrom has been one of the more dominant pitchers, winning both starts on the big stage of the NLDS against the Dodgers. Despite limited postseason experience, deGrom has looked composed on the mound in tense moments. He compiled 20 strikeouts in the NLDS, and the right-hander faces a team that led the Majors in strikeouts over the regular season.
Pitcher beware: If there's one reason for concern, it's deGrom's record against the Cubs. In two 2015 starts, deGrom was unable to limit damage, and that was before the Cubs' offense added more depth. In the postseason, deGrom has issued four walks, which could be trouble against a team that led the NL in pitches per plate appearance.
Bottom line: If deGrom continues his postseason form, he won't have to worry about his history against Chicago.