CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks might not necessarily be the second coming of Greg Maddux, but the crafty Chicago Cubs right-hander compares quite favorably with the Hall of Famer, according to San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
"He's a Maddux-type pitcher, he's cerebral, great stuff, great command and moves the ball around well," Bochy said Friday as the Giants and Cubs prepared to open their National League Division Series at Wrigley Field.
Hendricks (16-8 with a 2.13 ERA during the regular season) takes the mound for the Cubs in Saturday's Game 2 against Giants right-hander and ex-Cub Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81). The Cubs lead the series after a 1-0 victory in the opener.
"(Hendricks is) a true pitcher. You look at other guys who don't have that velocity and they're smart pitchers," Bochy said. "He changes speeds, he's tough. ... He's got a great changeup, a great motion on it, it's hard to read the pitch."
Hendricks was the first Cubs pitcher to lead the majors in ERA since Bill Lee (2.66 ERA) in 1938. He went 9-2 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) at Wrigley Field. It was also the lowest home ERA for any pitcher in baseball.
He has a 4.32 ERA in three career starts against the Giants.
Hendricks said he appreciated Bochy's compliment.
"I've heard those comparisons a few times. It's pretty humbling just to be mentioned in the same sentence with (Maddox)," he said. "I didn't really dissect too much from Greg's game pitching-wise, but mentally I think the approach he took of having simple thoughts ... and just making effective pitches, I really learned a lot from that."
Now in his third season, Hendricks made 31 appearances and 30 starts in 2016, working 190 innings and striking out 170 batters while walking 44. He went 7-1 with three no-decisions in the season's final two months.
Samardzija returns to a park he knows very well as a Cubs player for nearly seven seasons. He went 31-42 with a 3.97 ERA during that span.
Samardzija was traded to the Oakland A's in 2015, pitched for the Chicago White Sox in 2015 and joined the Giants as a free agent this season.
Nicknamed "The Shark," Samardzija was 3-4 with four no-decisions in the last two months of the season.
He had no decision in a Sept. 1 outing against the Cubs -- his only other start at Wrigley Field as a visiting pitcher -- allowing three runs and four hits in a five-inning outing as the Giants lost 5-4.
Samardzija got the Game 2 call that could have also easily gone to Matt Moore.
"I'm going to take it as (Bochy) has confidence in me and I'm not going to let him down," Samardzija said.
What's the secret to pitching at Wrigley Field?
"The flags," he said. "It's really the only thing that matters. ... You look at the (direction of the) flags and you kind of go from there. I think a lot of time it affects the hitters more than pitchers."