Good Thursday for Kendrick, Big Friday for Moyer


Thumbnail image for kendrick 0308.jpgCharlie Manuel
insisted today that the Phillies haven’t talked about the fifth spot in their rotation.

Nope, not once.

(Insert “Really?!? with Seth & Amy” here.)

But the decision is near. Believe that much. In fact, it could be pretty clear after Jamie Moyer pitches tomorrow night against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. If he pitches OK, the job could be his. If he gets knocked around, things get a little more interesting.

Kyle Kendrick, who is competing with Moyer for the job, impressed again today in an 8-7 victory over the Astros at Bright House Field. Kendrick struggled with his command early and arguably had his worst stuff of the spring but allowed five hits, two runs (one earned run) and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out one. Kendrick has an impressive 1.37 ERA after five Grapefruit League appearances. Moyer has a 3.86 ERA in four spring appearances, which includes on Grapefruit League and three B game starts.

Big night for Moyer on Friday?

“I don’t know,” Manuel said. “I don’t think so. Not really.”

Really?!?

The Phillies announced on March 31 last year that Chan Ho Park had edged J.A. Happ for the fifth spot in the rotation. It would not be a surprise to see the Phillies make this year’s announcement around the same time with Kendrick scheduled to make his final Grapefruit League start next Tuesday.

“I’m pleased with the way Kyle is throwing the ball, but I also know there’s a track record on the other guy,” Rich Dubee said.

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A couple notes from today:

  • Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero are expected to open the season on the DL. No surprise there. The Phillies can backdate DL stints to March 26, which means today would have been the last day they could have pitched in a Grapefruit League game. The earliest Lidge or Romero are eligible to pitch is April 10 in Houston. There remains a chance Lidge could be ready to pitch in Houston, but Romero still hasn’t appeared in a Minor League Spring Training game. He is further behind.
  • Roy Halladay allowed seven hits, two runs and one walk and struck out seven in seven innings in a Minor League Spring Training game against the Yankees in Tampa. He threw 98 pitches. Halladay will make his final Grapefruit League start Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. He makes his Phillies debut April 5 on Opening Day in DC.
  • Left-hander Antonio Bastardo allowed two hits, three runs, one walk and one home run in one inning. He struck out two. He has a 7.71 ERA in six Grapefruit League appearances. “I can’t say a whole lot of our guys have been real sharp the last time out,” Rich Dubee said. “I think we’re at that point right now in Spring Training where guys are going through a little bit of a dead arm and dead body period, which is fine. I’d rather they hit it now than the first week of the season.”

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Thanks to WIP’s Howard Eskin and Ike Reese for having me on today to talk about the Phillies and my book.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

9 Comments

Each time Dubee says or implies ” spring numbers” mean little or Charlie says ” not really” to whether this is a big start for Moyer tells you what they are thinking. And unfortunately what they are thinking Bodes poorly for Kendrick’s chances to start the season as the 5th starter. This is very unfair BUT so is life , in general , unfortunately. Since in the early season the need for a 5th starter is not REALLY a need ( given days off), it might actually be BEST ( in the long run) for Kendrick to go down to Triple A ( IF he has options left) and pitch every 4th day for a month or so. This would keep him sharp and free up a bullpen slot for a later inning guy as Romero and Lidge will be missing. By late May, I’m guessing Moyer will become ineffective and the switchover of Kendrick to 5th starter could occur with a call-up.

Dubee came into spring training with pre-conceived notions on both Kendrick and Moyer and appears to not be moved by anything he has seen to date.
Lidge will not be the closer for this team by the end of May. You read it here first.

I never thought I would hear anyone “thank” Howard Eskin…LOL Kidding ;o)
As for the 5th spot, I am betting on a scenario like last year…Moyer will get the nod and then they may wind up switching later. I like Jamie though so I hope it does not go downhill for him. But after all the surgeries and his age and what happened last year…I mean, the guy is not Super Man, right? Or maybe he is…

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

phan52: please expound on your Lidge prediction…

Jenn: I think your scenario is correct on Moyer/Kendrick. The will to succeed is great for both of them and they both seem to be rising to the occasion. I like the way KK has matured this year. But I would also hate to see it go downhill for Jamie. He really deserves to finish his playing days in Philadelphia on a positive note and continue to be warmly embraced by the fans and the organization for his accomplishments on and off the field. Your comment about Superman reminds me of a photo I think you had on your blog last year of the two “old goats” dressed up as Batman and Robin! You do a really nice job. Keep up the good work.

libertybelle, I just have no confidence that Lidge will rebound to pre-2009 success. I think his knee is something that will continue to hold him back. If he can’t push off that leg, his fastball is useless, and he needs to be able to locate his fastball to set up his slider. It’s JMO; I hope I’m wrong.

phan: I hope you’re wrong too, but I don’t know. For one thing, I’m not listening to Lidge’s self-proclamations about his health. As we saw last season, those were just BS.
At least they have a Plan B and C with Madson and Baez.

Todd, thanks for clarifying how the DL works in spring training. There are a few posters on the boards under your articles that don’t think you are doing your job. Everyone here understands that you have to churn out 2-3 articles quickly after each game, so we wait for the details here in your blog. I’m doing what I can to protect your good name and reputation as the best beat writer to cover the Phils. Keep up the good work!

Todd, thanks for clarifying how the DL works in spring training. There are a few posters on the boards under your articles that don’t think you are doing your job. Everyone here understands that you have to churn out 2-3 articles quickly after each game, so we wait for the details here in your blog. I’m doing what I can to protect your good name and reputation as the best beat writer to cover the Phils. Keep up the good work!

Jenn: Here in the bottom of the sixth….looking at a one-hit game, after retiring 13 batters in a row (Yankee A Team, no less) with 6 SO….you may be right about Moyer being Superman! ;-)

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