Kyle Hendricks’ 12.00 ERA is worst among all-time Cubs in first five starts

Kyle Hendricks who had the best ERA in baseball in 2016, now has baseball’s worst ERA in 2024 (through his first five starts)

Highest ERA by a Cub in first five starts

YearPlayerERA
2024Kyle Hendricks12.00
1999Micah Bowie9.78
2006Rich Hill9.53
2021Zach Davies9.47
2022Steve Smyth9.00

Which is interesting that there are no old-time Cubs in this list. I’m including all-time Cubs in this query.

Most earned runs by a Cub in first five starts

YearPlayerEarned runs
1901Tom Huges29
2024Kyle Hendricks28
1921Hippo Vaughn28
1937Roy Parmelee27
2011Ryan Dempster26
2000Kyle Farnsworth25
1999Micah Bowie25
2006Rich Hill24
1901Jack Taylor24

Now you see a lot more old players. Why aren’t they in the ERA list? Because in the old days, they would just keep the starting pitcher in the game longer. More innings lowers the ERA.

Kyle Hendricks sits at in the earned run list. In his next start, can he shoot up higher in the list for Cubs pitchers in their first six starts?

Most likely, Hendricks won’t break the Cub record for worst 6-game start. Ryan Dempster has 33 earned runs. Hendricks would need six to break it.

Going back to ERA, Hendrick’s 12.00 is another tier higher than the next Cubs on the list. How does Hendrick’s 12.00 ERA stand all-time for all teams?

Worst ERA for first five starts, for all teams

YearPlayerTeamERA
1991Kevin RitzDET18.00
2007Jeff WeaverSEA15.35
2002Jaret WrightCLE14.44
2010Jason MarquisWSN14.33
1995Pat MahomesMIN14.29
1996Bryan RekarCOL13.97
2006Hayden PennBAL13.76
1999Dan ReichertKCR13.50
1983Rick LangfordOAK13.50
1999John BurkettTEX13.24
2022Kris BubicKCR13.14
2007Phil DumatraitCIN13.00
1977Frank LaCorteATL12.76
2010Charlie MortonPIT12.57
2000Jaime NavarroMIL12.54
2024Kyle HendricksCHC12.00
1975Stan BahnsenCHW12.00

Hendricks comes in at all-time. Not extremely horrible.

Look at on this list. Kevin Ritz’s 18.00 is head-and-shoulders above the rest. What happened to Ritz in 1991? Sabr.org has a nice detailed story on Ritz. Here’s the summary.

In 1989 Ritz was the Tigers Rookie of the Year (although the Tigers were an awful team). His first three games in 1990 were disappointing, and he was sent down after his first three games. He pitched well in the minors, adding a slider to his mix. The Tigers, looking to the future, brought Ritz back to give him a shot. But he started off by getting a 18.00 ERA.

Ritz’s difficulties were attributed to a mental block by his coaches, a problem he acknowledged might require psychiatric help if it continued. This psychological hurdle significantly impacted his ability to pitch effectively at the major league level.

Most earned runs in first five starts of season (all MLB teams)

Kyle Hendricks ranks 20th all time for most earned runs in the first five starts of the season.

YearPlayerTeamEarned runs
1994Kevin BrownTEX35
2006Carlos SilvaMIN34
1902Bill CarrickWSH34
1937Vern KennedyCHW32
2004Scott ElartonCOL30
2004Jason JenningsCOL30
2000Roy HalladayTOR30
1998Pedro AstacioCOL30
1998John BurkettTEX30
1996Bryan RekarCOL30
1951Sid HudsonWSH30
2007Jeff WeaverSEA29
2000José LimaHOU29
2000Ryan RupeTBD29
1999Dan ReichertKCR29
1993Jack MorrisTOR29
1922Dixie DavisSLB29
1902Wyatt LeeWSH29
1901Tom HughesCHC29
2024Kyle HendricksCHC28
2012Clay BuchholzBOS28
2004Édgar GonzálezARI28
2002Julián TavárezFLA28
1999LaTroy HawkinsMIN28
1999Jamie MoyerSEA28
1996Steve SparksMIL28
1976Bart JohnsonCHW28
1949Ray ScarboroughWSH28
1937Wes FerrellBOS28
1935George EarnshawBROCHW28
1932Phil CollinsPHI28
1921Hippo VaughnCHC28
1901Win KellumBOS28
Kevin Brown, 1994 Topps

At the top of this list is Kevin Brown in 1994. Brown was 29 years old in 1994. This bad start was sandwiched by a series of All-Star appearances in 1992 and 1996 (and also 1997-1998, 2000, and 2003).

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