Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kyle Kendrick Does Not Go Quietly Into the Night

Last night, the Phillies ensured themselves yet another series win and became the first team to reach the 70-win mark this season with a 5-0 victory at Coors Field. This with Kyle Kendrick of all people on the mound.

Yeah, Kendrick is going out guns ablazing

With Roy Oswalt healthy and itching to get back, Kendrick is the obvious choice to slide out of the rotation and back into the bullpen given the remarkable success of rookie Vance Worley. Many a Phillies fan would be more than happy to usher Kendrick back to the pen, he being Philadelphia's #1 whipping boy as far as starting pitching is concerned.

But don't look now, because if you do you might notice that Kyle Kendrick has been pitching his ass off for this team, as surprising as that seems.

With last night's incredibly efficient 8-inning, 4-hit, 7-strikeout shutout performance, Kendrick has lowered his season ERA to 3.19. To put that in perspective, Cliff Lee's season ERA is 3.14. Yeah, Kyle Kendrick's ERA is just 5 hundreds of a run worse than Cliff Lee's on August 3rd. I'm as stunned as you are, but it's true. Believe it or not, Kendrick has been excellent this year, especially of late.

In his last five starts, he has surrendered three earned runs or less, and in that time he also threw an inning of shutout ball against the Braves. He has a winning record at 6-5. And he's been pretty darn good when called upon out of the bullpen as well.

No, the guy doesn't have good stuff. He's not going to strike many batters out, evident by his 39 strikeouts in 87 and a third innings. He'll walk some guys and put runners on base. But at the end of the day, the guy has been finding a way to get it done.

And last night, as he took the mound to start a game for perhaps the last time in a long while, he threw easily his most impressive game of the year, possibly of his entire career. For a guy who has gotten as much flack as anyone on the Phillies roster over the past few years, it's time to give Kyle Kendrick some respect.

The man has done more than anyone could have imagined in the Major Leagues, and as he bows out of the starting rotation in the near future, we'd all be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the fantastic job Kyle Kendrick has done this season both as a starter and a reliever.

If this was the last time he toes the rubber as a starter for Philadelphia, he couldn't have gone out any better.

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