To use the word “dominate” in the same sentence as the name “Kyle Kendrick” seems as ridiculous and unlikely a scenario as anything I can think of.
Before Sunday, the things in this world I would have said were more likely to happen than Kyle Kendrick dominating anything were, in this order, peace between North and South Korea, a decent presidential candidate running for office, and Mike Vick staying healthy through a 16-game season.
In other words, things that would never happen.
But, after Sunday’s eight shutout innings in the Phils’ 8-0 win over the Brewers in Milwaukee, Kendrick proved me wrong.
Kim Jong Un, you’re on the clock.
If you had asked me last week, I’d have told you Kyle would have had trouble getting kids out at the Little League World Series. But since his start against the Atlanta Braves on August 8th in which he was assaulted for six runs on seven hits and three walks, Kendrick has been unhittable, twirling 15 straight scoreless innings against Miami and Milwaukee.
It was after that start against Atlanta when both Charlie Manuel and Kendrick’s dad both told him that he was pitching like a smacked ass. OK, so maybe they used language a little bit more constructive than that. But it’s clear that the message got through. In his last two starts, Kendrick has been a different pitcher, using his sinker and change-up more and throwing his cutter a whole lot less. And the results speak for themselves. In those 15 innings, Kendrick has struck out 13, an unusually high ratio for him. Although, if you ask Kendrick, K’s aren’t that important to him.
“Strikeouts can be overrated,” Kendrick said. “Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it. But I’d be just as happy if they hit first-pitch ground balls all day long.”
First, strikeouts are NOT overrated. So, let’s just dispense with that little myth. The fewer the number of times you can allow a hitter to place his bat on a pitched ball, the fewer the chances are that ball will be put into play, at which point anything can happen.
If you want to have some fun, go on Twitter and type the words “pitch to contact.” Enjoy.
So, as we all wait for the sky to collapse on us all or an asteroid to strike the earth, sit back and absorb the fact that Kyle Kendrick has dominated two Major League lineups in a row. And allow that thought to scare the ever living crap out of you.
Where It All Went Right
While Kendrick was the obvious star of the game, offensively it was a big day for the struggling Domonic Brown (incidentally, doesn’t it seem like we’ve all read the words “struggling Domonic Brown” a whole lot in this guy’s career so far?). Brown had three hits and four RBIs, with quality at bats throughout the day. Brown brought a .238 average into the game while showing no signs of power of any kind. But on Sunday, he finally showed that he may be starting to turn things around.
Most Attractive Play
I don’t know what was more unlikely… Kyle Kendrick throwing eight shutout innings, running his scoreless streak to 15, or Michael Martinez hitting a two-run home run in place of Chase Utley. So, in the same column, I’ve written the words “Kyle Kendrick dominates” and “Michael Martinez home run.” I’m seriously really worried about us all. Everyone should be getting their affairs in order right now.
Brian Schneider, because he appears to be the key to Kyle Kendrick’s success. Check out these numbers (courtesy of Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com):
“Over the last two seasons, Kendrick has pitched 71 1/3 innings with Schneider behind the plate. His ERA is 2.14 and his strikeouts-to-walks ratio is 47-11. With everyone else, Kendrick has a 4.36 ERA and 94-57 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 154 2/3 innings.”
So basically, if the Phillies are going to use Kendrick as their #5 starter in 2013 (which would be a disaster by the way), they may have to bring Brian Schneider back to be his personal catcher. Sorry Kratz, but if you wanna make the big club next year, you gotta stop hitting home runs all over the place and learn how to make Kyle Kendrick a mega superstar. You can do that, right Kratzy?
Ryan Braun. No, he didn’t hit any home runs against the Phillies today. But he came into Sunday’s game 13 for 23 (.565) with six HRs and two doubles against the Phils this season. He hit four home runs in this series alone. Ryan Braun makes me sad in my heart.