Kyle Kendrick: Cram it in Your Five-Hole


Kyle Kendrick started the 2010 baseball season in a fight with a 47-year-old man.  No matter who it is, that’s got to weigh on the soul a bit.  And then to lose that fight, being a healthy 25-year-old guy, is probably a middle-aged, 74 mph slap in the face.

But just as Jamie Moyer was saddling up to take the spot that was deservedly his, and Kyle walked dejectedly for the empty seat in the bullpen next to Brad Lidge (“Hey Kyle!  Hope I don’t blow it!”), a miracle happened.  Joe Blanton strained himself to left.

So that was nice.

KK had his spot in the rotation.  Every five days, it would be his name in the “probable starters” section, not Joe Blanton’s, not J.A. Happ’s.  Kyle Kendrick, starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.  Hur… rah.

Since then, its been a series of questionable artillery from the young soldier.  He’s sitting in a line behind Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, three of the greatest slingers in the National League.  He’s not going to be as good as them in any capacity, at least not within the next 90 days.  He’s nowhere near an ace.

And while most people will want to talk about Cole and his resurgence, there will always be guys in the back of the rotation filling in the holes while the ace crew recharges for their next stunning display of pitching.  Kyle Kendrick has fallen into place and we crammed him up our five-hole.

It is not as comfortable as it sounds.

We just need to hope that his newfound fuel for dominance, the fear of being replaced, and a healthy smattering of crowd-tossed obscenities will be enough to propel us into the post season, where we can lean heavily on the three arms in their rotation expected to be perfect, all the time.

Kyle Kendrick is a dead body continuously resurrected by the breath of life.  A part of the midseason shake up designed to help us start, you know, winning ballgames, was to ship him out to Lehigh, where he would simmer and stew over the unquestionably insulting move that took him out of the starting rotation and into the Phillies training pen.

Then, as they often do, other things started to happen.  Jamie Moyer’s right arm exploded.  J.A. Happ was dragged sobbing to the Astros.  And once more, Kyle Kendrick—7-4, 4.37—was a piece of the show.

He and Joe Blanton are the ass-end of a rotation that has been unsupported or underperforming all the live long season.  The Roy Oswalt acquisition was obviously designed with depth in mind, but there is still heaps of regular season to go around, so for the next two months, we need five starting pitchers, and by golly, KK is one of them.  Damn it.

So, here.  Have another massive helping of regular season.  I made plenty.  Why aren’t you eating?!

We want this to be the start of a new Kyle Kendrick, a solid one, one that we can see is pitching tomorrow and not roll our eyes, audibly moan, or set ourselves on fire and run screaming into an intersection.

Well.  Quietly, soundly, and efficiently, Kyle Kendrick has bounced back from the minors and made fewer mistakes then ever before.  Nobody’s pinning an ace label to his hat, and I’d be a little hesitant to even call him reliable just yet; hell’ I’d still huck a tomato at him if I got the chance. But I do just get so excited when somebody who is not a habitual star player comes through in a big way.

A back end starting pitcher, who’s got to go deep in the game and shoulder the brunt of the responsibility of a fulfilling victory or idiotic loss, is even better to see during a playoff race.

Everybody has to have a fifth starter.  At least Kyle has plenty of motivation to cling to his spot