Wait, Kendrick Is Good?
He has evolved into a pretty good pitcher over the past few years. Kendrick is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in six starts this season and 22-19 with a 3.46 ERA in 77 appearances (46 starts) from 2011-13. Kendrick’s 3.46 ERA in that span ranks 25th out of 89 qualifying pitchers (minimum 300 innings) in baseball. That is better than Roy Halladay (3.48), Matt Garza (3.52), Zack Greinke (3.57) and a host of other pitchers making a heck a lot more than Kendrick’s $4.5 million salary this year. Kendrick’s 1.24 WHIP is 35th.
A reporter mentioned last night that Kendrick, who has a 1.54 ERA in his last five starts, has been a stopper recently, helping the Phillies win following a loss (or losses) in his previous three starts. Kendrick smiled awkwardly, like, “Uh, did you just call me a stopper?” This is a guy that fans have loved to mock and boo. I asked him about that in spring training. He said he wasn’t sure why he remained an object of scorn in Philadelphia. I offered the possibility that fans might not be able to forget the 4.96 ERA he carried from 2008-10, so anytime he pitches poorly it’s like, “There goes Kendrick again.”
“Maybe, but that’s tough if that’s the way it is,” he said. “I’m not that same pitcher anymore.”
Maybe a few more good months this year and they will notice.
“I’ve always kind of expected this out of me,” Kendrick said last night. “I know it hasn’t been there in the past like I’ve wanted, the fans have wanted it, my teammates, the coaches, the organization. But I expect this out of me. Hopefully now I can be consistent like that and every time out give us a chance to win the game. That’s the main thing as a starting pitcher. I’m feeling comfortable and confident I can do that every time out.”
Kendrick will have his bad starts, but he has become more of a sure thing. Charlie Manuel often said Kendrick pitched a “Kyle Kendrick type of game” when he allowed three or four runs in six innings. But these days a Kyle Kendrick game is more two or three runs in seven innings. (He is 10-5 with a 2.75 ERA in his last 19 starts.) The Phillies need that, especially with Halladay’s inconsistencies.