Kyle Kendrick should prove to be a more effective pitcher than Roy Halladay this season.
Baseball blasphemy? No, it’s the new Philadelphia Phillies‘ reality.
“Doc” will always tower over “KK” when it comes to nicknames and career performance. As the 2013 season begins, it seems increasingly possible that this sixth-year Phillies’ veteran is set to overtake one of the game’s formerly great right-handers.
Halladay’s change in mound appearance can’t be denied. Nine strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves offered bittersweet relief when he had to be lifted in the fourth inning. Until, or if, Charlie Manuel’s previous number 1 starter rights his arm, sports’ spew will be spit into the spring air by a regularly red flash mob who linger inside Citizens Bank Park.
Because the Phillies’ offense hasn’t been dominant in years, a reliance on pitching has been forced to take place. Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are still rock stars, even if Halladay’s time as front-man has passed. But, what about their wingman?
Kendrick’s modest 1.362 career WHIP won’t make him a video game cover boy, create cheesy commercial endorsements, sell many jerseys or cause teenage fans to pledge their allegiance. Yes, number 38 hasn’t channeled Curt Schilling (the video game reference unfortunately fits here too), who wore his number as well. But, this 28-year-old is a steady major league starter who’s currently healthy and not in any legal trouble.
Pitching in the last guaranteed year of his deal, Kendrick is primed to be the Phillies’ third-best starter. He’s busted the double-digit win-line four times and has started 123 games before leading the home-opener against the Kansas City Royals on April 5.
With a healthy season, my guess is that he won’t cause anyone to stop fretting about Halladay. However, he will shatter his 11-win career high marks that were set in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 seasons.