Apr 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner (53) throws a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a MLB game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies Gameday: The First of Many Chances at Redemption

You’re going to hear a lot about “momentum” tonight.  You’re gonna hear a lot about “Kyle Kendrick” and “staying hot” and “not hot hot like the weather, I mean like momentum.”

The Phillies won last night, and that’s terrific.  They’ll have to win a few more times to prove it wasn’t a fluke.  They’ll have to do it a few times without Cliff Lee being on the mound to really prove it wasn’t a fluke.  And tonight, Cliff Lee is far from the mound.  Kyle Kendrick is on it.

Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94 ERA)

Apr 5, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) pitches during the first inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals on opening day at Citizens bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, Kyle Kendrick!  Go get ‘um, Kyle.  Kyle didn’t get the win last time.  He threw five and two thirds innings pretty admirably, but wound up somehow losing after handing the ball over to Jeremy Horst in that game where the Royals hit all the bases-clearing triples.

The elephant in the room is that the last time we saw Kyle, he started the home opener/worst game of the season so far.  The 13-4 loss wasn’t a game he was around for much of the anti-winning to see, but did allow five of the runs – a Jimmy Rollins brain fart not withstanding.  So, what’s a Kyle Kendrick to do?

He could start by maintaining consistency, a thing people say pitchers should do but never offer any theories on how to do it.  Kyle wiped out 13 of the initial 16 batters he faced on opening day, until one disastrous inning cost him everything.  Being proven “partially effective against the Royals” is not the best way to establish yourself as the new threat in the Phillies rotation, and Charlie Manuel drove this point home by taking him out of the game.

Tonight is a redemption song for Kyle, looking to secure the Phillies’ first series win against a Mets team that can shut the hell up.  But his frequent unraveling can be really beneficial to the other team.  Sometimes.

“I’m not going to tell you what I tell him, though. Seriously, that’s how I look at it. I don’t care what he says, but if I got something to say to him, I’ll be able to do that. You won’t know unless he tells you.”

Charlie Manuel on how fun it is to scream at Kyle Kendrick

Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50 ERA)

Recently referred to as “…not a proven long haul starter,” Hefner maybe exactly what the Phillies need on the other side to score early and/or outrun whatever inadequacies Kendrick provides this evening.  Very proud of the Mets’ very late entry to the Harlem Shake fad, Hefner has worked hard for recognition from all seven of his Twitter followers.

Fortunately for Hefner, no performance could be too bad with Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum DL’d.  So the Mets will have to learn to love him.

In his first start, Hefner shut down the already pretty shut down Marlins.  Pitching against that team skews the scouting, as it really only indicates how effective a pitcher is against an assembly of very sad, old children.  Greg Dobbs hit a home run off of him for what it’s worth.

There are some nights when Kyle Kendrick goes up against a strong starter – think heyday Tim Lincecum that one time – and we all laugh and laugh.  Tonight is not a night like that.  Hefner is the kind of pitcher capable of keeping us in this game should Kyle go sideways.

Offense

Apr 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jordany Valdespin (1) celebrates with third base coach Tim Teufel after hitting a triple during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Mets 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Phils and Mets have swapped beat downs.  But to be fair, they faltered when faced with one of the pitchers in our rotation that isn’t currently recovering from injury.  Also he is our best pitcher at the moment.

Tonight, their lineups have a chance to pound the respective starters, unlike the past two nights when somebody was starting a quality arm.  Michael Young could be a hot ticket, traditionally strong against the Mets and coming off his best night yet as a Phillie.

Jordany Valdespin looked solid for the Mets last night.  Maybe.  I saw his celebration at third after hitting a triple and presumed he had broken a longstanding MLB record of some kind.  He sure is zany!

Also hot right now is John Buck for some reason.  He’s one of those guys that you continuously overlook, because seriously, just calm down, John Buck.  Either the Phillies offense has awoken and this is the beginning of some form of productivity, or this is one of those endless amounts of times when they looked good one night this week and then just shit the bed nonstop for six days.

They’re certainly facing a bad enough pitcher to be shut out.

Tags: Jeremy Hefner Kyle Kendrick New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies

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