There was never any question about who was going to be the Cubs’ ace this season and manager David Ross made it clear Tuesday, naming right-hander Kyle Hendricks his Opening Day starter.
Hendricks, who will be making his second consecutive Opening Day start, stepped into the No. 1 starter role this spring after the trade of Yu Darvish, but has quietly pitched like an ace for some time.
Ross often referred to Hendricks as a “co-ace” with Darvish during the shortened 2020 season. Hendricks was 6-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 12 starts for the Cubs last season.
While being “The Guy” hasn’t always been something Hendricks has been asked to do or been comfortable with, but he’s stepped into the role this spring and his teammates, both new and old, have taken notice.
“He’s dedicated to not only his craft, but being the best he can be,” Jake Arrieta told the Sun-Times. “For his teammates, the organization, the city of Chicago, the entire state of Illinois, and his fans all across the country. People don’t get to see behind the scenes how dedicated he really is.
“I know this for a fact, and this is just the kind of guy he is, he can look himself in the mirror at the end of each day and say I did everything in my power to be better than I was yesterday. And if you can do that, you can sleep well at night. … I know the fans appreciate him, but I just wish that more people could see everything that goes into his routine in between starts, because it’s very special.”