Kyle Kendrick is always one of the Philadelphia Phillies who receives a lot of criticism and blame year after year. Recently however, he has proven that he can be reliable as a starter behind the big three of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Entering this season, starting pitching is one of the issues surrounding the Phillies. While the combination of Halladay, Hamels and Lee is part of one of the better rotations in baseball, all of them minus Hamels, had off seasons last year. It seems like Lee and Halladay will be able to return to their dominant form this season, which means Kendrick being a solid 4th starter can be key to making the entire rotation back to one of the best in the league.
Kendrick receives a lot of criticism because his numbers do not look like much. However, when looking at Roy Oswalt’s numbers when he was the 4th starter in 2011, compared to Kendrick’s, they look much better. That year the Phillies rotation was arguably the best in baseball with their “4 aces” and the team won 102 games. Oswalt started 23 games in 2011 with a .369 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 33 walks. Last season, Kendrick started 25 games and had a .390 ERA, 116 strikeouts and 49 walks. When looking at those numbers compared to each other, Kendrick begins to look a lot better. If he can continue to have numbers like that the starting rotation may look more like it did two years ago.
Kendrick is not a flashy player and his numbers will not look like anything to get excited about at a glance, but he has proven that he is a solid 4th starter that can put up decent numbers. The Phillies need him to continue to produce numbers like this if they hope to return to the playoffs. As great as Halladay, Hamels and Lee can be, they need at least one more starter to be able to give them a great chance to win consistently. In a division this year with teams like the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, other teams knowing that there is a good chance they will have to face a reliable starter in every game of the series, will be a big advantage for Philadelphia.