NLDS Game 5 probable starters: Kyle Hendricks vs. Gio Gonzalez

Pitching matchup for Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and the Nationals.

Kyle Hendricks

If Kyle Hendricks had his way, he wouldn’t be pitching Thursday.

The Cubs right-hander, though, said he would prepare the way he always does for Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Nationals, just in the Cubs didn’t wrap up the series Wednesday.

They didn’t, so Hendricks will try to finish what he started after he held the Nationals scoreless on two hits in seven innings of Game 1 of the series.

“You have to stay in the mindset that you’re going to pitch and be ready mentally for that because the situation definitely could arise,” he said.

Starting potential series-clinching games is old hat to Hendricks by now. The right-hander did so against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series last season before starting Game 7 of the World Series.

That experience, he said, helps a lot.

“You know what the atmosphere is going to be like,” he said. “You know what the crowd is going to be like. All those external factors, if you can kind of keep that under control, you know the pitching part.”

Hendricks has proven he knows that. He has been the Cubs’ most reliable starter since the All-Star break.

He couldn’t care less that some don’t associate his name with the team’s elite pitchers.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Hendricks said. “I’m not the guy who’s going to show all the emotion and throw 98 (mph). That’s what fans love, and that’s fine with me. I just love competing.”

Kyle Hendricks statistics

Category: 2017, 2017 vs. Nationals (including playoffs), Career playoffs

Starts: 24, 2, 8

Record: 7-5, 1-1, 2-1

ERA: 3.03, 1.93, 1.98

Innings: 139 2/3, 14, 41

Hits: 126, 7, 30

Runs: 49, 3 ,10

Earned runs: 47, 3, 9

Walks: 40, 5, 11

Strikeouts: 123, 11, 36

WHIP: 1.189, 0.857, 1.000

Gio Gonzalez (probable)

Tanner Roark was in. Then maybe he wasn’t. Then he was. Then he wasn’t.

The…

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