The 2015 version of Kyle Hendricks would've been satisfied with a start in which he gave up two runs across six innings and tallied nine strikeouts.

The 2016 version is disappointed because he felt he could've done more.

Hendricks fell to 15-8 on the season with the Cubs' 3-1 loss to the Brewers Sunday afternoon, snapping his nine-game winning streak at Wrigley Field.

The Cy Young contender with the lowest ERA in Major League Baseball allowed only six hits in six innings, but one of those was a two-out single to the opposing pitcher Wily Peralta.

"This game last year, I probably would've been a lot more happy with it, but resulting in a loss, I feel like I could've done a little bit more with the tools I have available to me where I'm at this year," Hendricks said.

"I wouldn't've been able to get through this game or keep it at two last year."

Hendricks pointed to a lack of fastball command for his brief struggles Sunday, but also explained how he's come so far as a pitcher in just a year.

"Last year, I wouldn't've used my curveball, I wouldn't've used my four-seam [fastball] like I did today," he said. "I would've just stuck probably two-seam [fastball], changeup and last year, I think you saw the results. The second and third time through the order, I was getting hit around a little bit.

 

"Just having the awareness to still mix my other pitches in, even when my fastball command isn't there and it can get me through it, it's definitely an adjustment I've made this year that I wouldn't've been able to do last year."

To be clear, last year saw Hendricks post numbers (3.95 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 180 innings) that would rank among the best fourth or fifth starters in the game.

But this season, Hendricks has emerged as maybe the best pitcher in baseball and could be in line to take home some hardware in the offseason.

In his mind, the difference between 2015 Kyle Hendricks and 2016 Kyle Hendricks is tangible:

"The at-bats that are being put together against me, really," Hendricks said. "The at-bats last year, I could tell so many more comfortable swings, better contact. Now, I can see that hitters are more off balance.

"I know when I can go to a certain pitch and getting weak contact most of the time. And I'm just making better pitches, really. Other than today, with my fastball, I'm able to hit a spot kinda whenever I need to.

"Even my secondary pitches - my curveball, I'm throwing for strikes; changeups I can put in there for a strike when I need to. So kinda just that overall game."