Cubs

Kyle Hendricks takes a page out of Jon Lester's book for NLDS Game 2

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Kyle Hendricks takes a page out of Jon Lester's book for NLDS Game 2

Kyle Hendricks has never pitched in the postseason, so why not take a page out of the book of a teammate who's made a career of pitching in October?

Jon Lester approaches every start the same, keeping things on an even keel and emotions in check.

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With Lester getting the ball in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Hendricks will try to follow along in the veteran's footsteps in Game 2 Saturday.

"[I don't approach things] differently," Hendricks said. "It's a postseason game, but I'm still going out to the mound, 60-feet, six inches away, doing my same game.

"I've faced these guys a few times, so just gotta get my gameplan together and do my same routine going into [Saturday].

Hendricks finished the season with an 8-7 record, 3.95 ERA and 1.161 WHIP, but he struggled with bouts of inconsistency throughout the season and his nod as the Cubs' Game 2 starter was something of a surprise to some.

The 25-year-old right-hander beat out veterans Jason Hammel (who may go in Game 4) and Dan Haren, who have combined to make 11 postseason appearances in their careers.

But Hendricks wasn't surprised.

"We've been thinking about what would happen during the series for a while and I've been preparing myself for any possibilities, so I wasn't caught off guard," Hendricks said.

"I'm definitely excited. I'm glad they gave me this opportunity and hopefully I can just give my team a chance to win [Saturday]."

Hendricks has a 4.44 ERA in the second half, but had a 3.03 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 32.2 innings over the final month.

When explaining his reasoning for giving Hendricks the ball in Game 2, Maddon cited the young right-hander's command.

"He was in better counts, just more strike-throwing with that sinker/fastball and that setup - his changeup - and the use of his breaking ball, also," Maddon said. "That's it. I mean, I like to go simple."

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Maddon said he anticipates Hendricks will elicit a lot of groundballs from St. Louis hitters and some swings and misses on changeups. The Cubs need Hendricks to step up now that they are facing a 1-0 deficit in the series after Friday night's 4-0 loss.

"Tomorrow is a new day," David Ross said. "We got Kyle on the mound. if we split this series here, it's all positive. We got two in Chicago, so we'll try to get back to Chicago with a W."

Hendricks only faced the Cardinals once in the regular season, giving up four runs in five innings without factoring in the decision.

Still, it's not like he really needs an updated gameplan. The Cubs have seen plenty of the Cardinals this season.

"They're the best team in baseball, right?" Hendricks said. "They have the most wins, a really good, experienced lineup. They put together an unbelievable plan.

"They know how to attack whatever pitcher they're facing that day, so when you're facing these guys, you've gotta be thinking when you're on the mound.

"You gotta be in tune with the game, in tune with what they're trying to do, the at-bats they're putting together against you and make in-game adjustments. That's what it's all about."

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