The Race Is On

kylekendrick.jpgPhillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said today that the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation has started.

Beginning … now.

That seems to be good news for Kyle Kendrick, who is competing for that job. He allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings today in a 9-5 loss to Team USA at Bright House Field. Kendrick had retired seven of the first eight batters he faced when he found trouble in the third.

Dubee wasn’t happy with the way he handled that trouble.

After Shane Victorino hit a chopper over Ryan Howard‘s head for a one-out single, Kendrick threw to first on a pickoff attempt. The throw was low, the ball got away from Howard and Victorino scampered to second. Kendrick threw up his arms for a split second. Jimmy Rollins then hit a ball through the hole between first and second to put runners at the corners. Dustin Pedroia followed suit, knocking the ball through the hole between first and second. Kendrick threw up his arms again, which irritated Dubee.

“That’s not acceptable behavior,” Dubee said.

“Poor,” said Dubee, asked to rate the progress Kendrick is making regarding controlling his emotions. “Poor today. He made a good pitch to Pedroia at the time, and he inside-outed a fastball and hit a little chopper between first and second and he threw his arms up like, ‘Poor me,’ or whatever. That doesn’t show control of your emotions.

“He threw the ball OK. Victorino hits a chopper. Jimmy hits a ball in the hole. Pedroia hits a ball in the hole. It’s going to happen to a sinker ball guy.”

Dubee said he considered Kendrick to be the favorite for the fifth starter’s job entering spring training. Is he still the favorite?

“I haven’t been evaluating yet, but the race is on now,” he said. “I would have liked to have seen a little more improvement, but again, it’s early. … He still needs better body language. He still needs a better presence, I’d say. It looked a little frail at times. Again, that chopped base hit, that’s life to a sinker ball guy and has to understand that. When you’re throwing your arms like, ‘Why me?’ or whatever he’s throwing them up for, that’s showing the other team there that you’re scuffling. And you don’t ever want to let your guard down. You don’t want to show how you might be feeling poorly or whatever.”

*

Chad Durbin (right hamstring) threw a bullpen session today. It went well. Brad Lidge (forearm tightness) threw a live BP today. It also went well. Dubee said both could appear in Grapefruit League games next week. …  Chase Utley could get into a Grapefruit League game in the middle of the month. … Pedro Feliz took live BP. If he comes out of that OK, it will be a big step for him. … Jayson Werth will play in a “B” game against the Toronto Blue Jays at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Bright House Field. … John Mayberry Jr. is playing center field against the Blue Jays at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Dunedin Stadium. He has never played center field before, but he said he is looking forward to it. … The Phillies “traded” Joe Bisenius and Scott Nestor to Team USA early in the game because they need a couple extra arms. Bisenius allowed three hits and a run in one inning. “It was kind of weird facing Lou (Marson), guys I played with last year,” he said. “It was a good time. It was a cool experience.”

12 Comments

Sounds as if Kendrick had a little tempertantrum out there. I wonder if his arms were saying poor me, or “WTF? Cant you guys field?? Todd, if our real infield had been playing (ie: Utley and Rollins) would those two hits in teh hole still have gotten through? Could we see some favoritism by Charlie via who he plays when certain pitchers are on teh mound? (better Deffensive players for more favored pitchers and visa versa)??

Agree FIJ….Kendrick I’m sure must realize he’s gotta keep his cool out there no matter what. I guess we still have to remember he’s still pretty young and may need some more innings in the minors.

Think he just needs to grow up. Innings in minors, after a full season in Majors, isn’t going to help him emotionally. If his problem is technical (lack of change-up etc) then yes, but learning how to keep your arms at your sides isn’t taught in AAA ball either

It doesn’t really surprise me. A friend and I were talking about this last week and we both agreed that Kendrick needs a little intestinal fortitude. If he doesn’t get the job, I think they lose him forever and I think Dubee knows that. Happ’s a better, tougher pitcher anyway. So be it.

It’s not like he’s a rookie, he’s had a year an a half in the majors. And showing up your fielders won’t win you many fans in the locker room.

I agree, he might have been saying “WTF? Cant you guys field??”. But either way, he needs to keep his emotions in check. Also, could be the pressure of knowing he needs to win his job back. Guess the race IS on.

Looks like my predictions didn’t come true. Guess I should keep my mouth shut. Or hands in my lap. lol!

I don’t remember Kyle ever doing that in a real game. I think he was just upset that he caught a couple of unlucky breaks that were going to make him look like a lousy pitcher. The homerun pitch to Chipper was flat out giving up. That’s unforgivable!! Kyle is beginning to look like the long shot.

Its like a broken record. Howard has a great spring, the real season starts, he goes in the tank. Then, finally, in September he starts hitting like he did in spring training. Why does he torture everybody????

Happ is the real deal!! He will be the #5 Sp

I hope Kendrick keeps struggling, we don’t need that barrel buster as our 5th SP. I would much rather have Happ, Carrasco, or CHP in there. Kendrick was a one year wonder and does not have good enough stuff to sustain another year like he had his rookie year. When pitchers get more seasoning, batters start to figure them out and Kendrick doesn’t seem to know how to adjust.

The good: I would like to personally thank Kyle Kendrick for his exceptional performance, which went above and beyond the call of duty, in helping the Phillies win the 2007 NL East.
The bad: I fear that by pulling Kendrick out of Double A to face Major League talent with only 2 pitches in his repertoire, he may have sustained irreparable damage to his ability and psyche.
In 2007, he was a fresh face that most hitters couldn’t get a handle on. The more times they faced Kendrick, they figured him out and his weaknesses were exposed.

My suggestion would be to send him to Triple A and tell him to get his head on straight.

sully28, -are there 27 other sullys out there?- I agree with what you said, but I’d like to know if it’s because of the pitches themselves or because he’s tipping off his pitches in his delivery.

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