Kyle Kendrick is Great, Says Charlie Manuel with Forced Smile


Anyone who reads my thing up on Call to the Pen tomorrow that pretty much jerks Gregg Zaun off for 1,000 words is going to be able to tell I was listening to loud, theatrical orchestra music as I typed it.  So I thought I’d counteract that thumb up I submitted to the universe with a blog post about Kyle Kendrick.

Kyle Kendrick’s the guy who’s easy to make fun of, but then your mom tells you you have to be nice to him because she knows his mother.  Now you’ve got this lanky kid hanging around who sucks, but sometimes he brings over his Xbox.

Personally, I let my unprovoked sense of cinematic optimism run away with me last spring.  Upon hearing Kyle had assigned himself to Roy Halladay for most of his workouts, I saw a bond, and probably a mind-meld, forming between them.  Not that Roy felt an especially profound connection with the kid.  His mind is just so powerful, he goes throughout his day accidentally mind-melding with people and not even realizing it.

He makes other pitchers better just by being around them, so to actively have one imitating his every move as he went about his eight-a-day workouts and 18 hour throwing sessions, overseen by a gently snoozing Rich Dubee who was gesturing what adjustments should be made despite his unconsciousness, seems like a recipe for improvement.

But that bond never materialized, and Kyle provided us with a bouquet of frustration all throughout 2010.  It seemed like every time we were ready to change the locks, he’d bring over his Xbox.  I mean, he’d pitch a halfway decent game and we’d be forced, once again, into a position of weary optimism.  Which would inevitably crumble.  Because it’s Kyle Kendrick, and this is the emotionally draining game we play.

Maybe the reason I always attach such melodramatic hopes to Kyle is that I for some reason can photographically remember his first Major League at-bat.  He singled.  It was no big deal.  He also gave up three runs to the White Sox.

I think I can trace the issue back from Kyle Kendrick the faulty pitcher to the only realistic thing that would make him stand out: An even worse pitcher.  The whole reason Kyle went out there was because Freddy Garcia was in the process of being melted down and recycled for parts.  The novelty of a pitcher doing well in his first ever appearance as a Phillie, and the novelty of a rookie performing well immediately (See also: Dom Brown, Chase Utley) combined into a thrilling dangerous cocktail of nostalgia and glee.  And then with the novelty of a pitcher getting a hit thrown in there, well. I certainly can’t drive home.

Did you know he could have been the starting quarterback at Washington State?  And he’s one of, if not the only, guy to be with us with the exact years of this dynasty, 2007-10.  And it was his 10-4 ’07 campaign that had a lot to do with our overwhelming dominance down the stretch.

Perhaps it is these memories Charlie’s drawing from when he says things like

"“He’s showed he can pitch in the big leagues. He just happens to be on a team now where we have five starters. But Kendrick can pitch.”"

And now he’s breeding.  So, you know.

Good luck to us all.