If Kyle Kendrick’s baseball career was a movie, it would be the second remake of “Total Recall,” where up is down and down is up.
The Kyle Kendrick story begins with a young, seemingly talentless pitcher who bursts onto the scene with stones of steel and
Kyle Kendrick continues to a pitcher of extremes for the Philadelphia Phillies.
without whom the Philadelphia Phillies do not win their first division title in 14 years. After a 10-4 record and a 3.84 earned run average in a miraculous 2007 campaign, Kendrick was equally as horrific the following season with a 5.49 ERA and one foot out the door.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee had seen enough at that point. Dubee was like the angry father who, after learning his high school son knocked up his girlfriend, tells him, “Don’t expect to come home without a ring on her finger.”
Similarly, he told Kendrick not to bother knocking on his door without adding another pitch.
Outside of a couple spot starts, Kendrick didn’t come knocking until the following season. The ups and downs have continued ever since. Down in 2010 with a 4.73 ERA. Up in 2011 with a 3.22 ERA.
Then the mother of all ups and downs in 2012. A 6.59 ERA in April, a 2.89 ERA in May, a 6.96 ERA in June, a 0.00 ERA in July, and a 9.82 ERA in August entering his last start. In his five worst starts, Kendrick has a 6.93 ERA and an average of 4.5 innings per start. In his four best starts, he has a 0.32 ERA (just one run allowed in 28 innings) and an average of seven innings per start.
And who exactly is Kyle Kendrick? He is Jekyll and he is Hyde; he is Cy Young and he is Adam Eaton; he is Steve Carlton and he is Steve…Searcy. In other words, Kyle Kendrick is the measure of inconsistency.
In his 16 starts in 2012, Kendrick has allowed two earned runs or fewer 10 times, 5+ earned runs six times, and nothing in between.
Over his last three full seasons, Kendrick has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 34 of 62 starts, five or more in 19 starts, and only nine starts in between. During that time, he had six starts in which he allowed more than six runs or more and 21 starts with one earned run or less (including two complete game shutouts).
Kyle Kendrick Inconsistency
Season 2 or less earned runs 5 or more ER
2012 (16 games started) 10 6
2011 (15 GS) 10 3
2010 (31 GS) 14 10
Total 34 19
Maybe his last debacle against the Atlanta Braves in which he surrendered four runs and threw 50 pitches in a 23-minute second inning was the turning point in Kendrick’s career.
“He slowed the game,” manager Charlie Manuel said after the game. “At times, it takes the starch out of your team. When you slow the game down like that, it kills the momentum of the game. He’s had that kind of game before.”
Manuel did not guarantee another start for Kendrick. “I don’t know,” the manager said. “We’ll talk about that. We don’t have too many options.”
The manager did give KK one more start, but only after sending him to the principal’s office for a closed door meeting.
Maybe, just maybe, the intervention paid off. For a pitcher who can give up a total of one run in four starts, there’s no reason to believe it did not.