The Phillies have assembled one of the most impressive starting pitching rotations in modern history. Despite this, Kyle Kendrick pitched today. Dostoevsky said “To live without hope is to cease to live.” Hope is all we can do with the twenty six year old right hander on the mound. Most of us don’t want him near our baseball team. Fyodor wants us to hope, so we hope.
Kendrick shut out the Braves through five innings of work. He did not give up any home runs. He only walked one batter. He did not do anything to hurt himself. He only allowed two hits. He gave us what we were hoping for; a quality outing and a chance to win a baseball game.
Kendrick was opposed by one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in twenty year old right handed flame thrower Julio Teheran. This guy is being anointed as the best Latin pitcher since Felix Hernandez with his ridiculous performance in the minor leagues thus far. He has a plus fastball, a plus change up and a work in progress breaking ball. The Phillies offense did not bash the kid into submission, but they scratched through just enough to back Kendrick’s outing. In his five innings of work, Teheran allowed four hits, three runs and two costly walks.
The Phillies offense got to Teheran in the bottom of the second inning by capitalizing on a walk to Ben Francisco to lead off the inning, followed by a single from Brian Schneider. Pete Orr worked a great at bat against Teheran and scored Schneider on a fielder’s choice. He was introduced to Ryan Howard’s ability to crush the living shit out a baseball when the Phillies first baseman deposited a fourth inning offering 430 feet away from home plate. Howard worked the count in his favor and apparently got a pitch that he could drive and proceeded to drive the crap out of it. The Phils made the score 3-0 by taking advantage of another walk against the young right hander. Rollins worked a two out walk in the bottom of the fifth, stole second and was knocked in with a triple from Shane Victorino.
Kendrick was not stretched out and was not being counted on for too much more than five innings of work today meaning that they would be leaning pretty hard on their bullpen. This is a bullpen that is relying on a few young arms that are going to be making their first forays into high leverage situations. We have seen what happens when the healthy veteran of the group is placed in any sort of high leverage game action. Baez gets his ass kicked. This means that Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes are going to have to step up. J.C. Romero, Stutes, Bastardo and Madson combined to toss four innings of scoreless ball tonight with Madson looking especially impressive. Madson is now 3-3 in save opportunities and it seems that he is setting himself up to be rewarded financially.
The Phillies look to take the series from Atlanta on mother’s day. Cole Hamels looks to continue being a bad ass as the Braves send their own hot pitcher to the hill in the person of Jair Jurrjens. The game is an 8:00 national broadcast meaning that we will be treated to the musings of Bobby Valentine.