A New and Improved Kyle Kendrick – Phillies Nation

A New and Improved Kyle Kendrick

Last night, Kyle Kendrick was on.  Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras, not so much, but Kyle Kendrick definitely found a nice groove for eight innings.  Unfortunately, he didn’t leave with a win, but it was a moral victory for him (I know, moral victories still kinda suck).
Picture 1

From what I saw last night, Kendrick was able to keep the ball down and mixed his pitches effectively throughout the night.  After his last outing, a 1 2/3 inning debacle, KK started off strong by facing the minimum through three frames. In those first few innings, he was able to induce a double play off the bat of Chipper Jones, two strikeouts, and a total of six ground outs.  Keeping the ball on the ground is exactly what a sinkerball pitcher needs to be continually in control.  As we witnessed in his first two outings against Washington, Kendrick had a tough time with his pitches up in the zone.

On April 14th – you remember, the one that was 7-6 Phillies Picture 2after two innings – his location was inexcusable. Perhaps Kendrick was squeezed a bit by the umpire in that short start, however, good pitchers find their way around that.  In the first inning, he left a pitch middle-in to Adam Kennedy (top-right photo), who roped it into the right center field gap. In the second, after a Christian Guzman RBI single, Josh Willingham (middle) added two-more on a ground-rule double to left. The pitch he saw was DIRECTLY down the middle of the dish, and the Hammer smoked it.  Add all of that to his three walks and an awful ball/strike ratio (54 pitches, only 23 strikes) and it’s easy to see why Kyle Kendrick couldn’t get to the third inning.

Bring it back to last night in Atlanta where those problems all seemed to vanish. Of his 108 pitches, 61 were strikes.  That isn’t an overly-impressive ratio, however, it’s sure beats a 42 percent strike-throwing figure. It all goes back to keeping the ball in the bottom half of the strike zone, which caused the Braves to swing on top of the ball (Matt Diaz, bottom-right) for most of the night. His only speed bump was a rocky 4th inning in which a Chipper Jones double made it second and third with one out.  Troy Glaus subsequently Picture 3grounded into an easy double play, which acted as a needle filled with confidence.

Following the averted disaster in the fourth, Kendrick allowed only two more base runners the rest of the evening.  What happened next was out of his control.

According to Paul Boye, our resident numbers-cruncher,  Kendrick tossed 70 fastballs (65% of his pitches, 66% were strikes), whether they be a two-seamer, four-seamer or a sinker.  He also mixed in a change up (18 times) and slider (23) brilliantly. This balance left Braves hitters off-kilter for eight strong.  On the positive side of a downright ugly loss, KK was superb, which hopefully can snowball into a heap of poise and self-assurance.

All pitch fx info from Brooks Baseball.



  1. Lefty

    April 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    It was unfortunate timing, but Contreras made one bad pitch, his first and only mistake of the season. Call me crazy but he’d be a better choice than Madson as closer. Well Done by KK, if we can get that type of effort from him it will help us greatly.

  2. BurrGundy

    April 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Kendrick was masterful and left me very optimistic as to the starting pitching. The Braves are not chopped liver offensively. We have two strong outings to feel good about in the last two games — Cole Hamels and Now Kyle K. Tonight we have Halladay. Maybe the starting pitching is coming together. When our bullpen lost it for Kendrick, I went nuts. I just had that foreboding feeling that it would be a disaster. Lidge should be back soon and we indeed need him. I hope Cholly Manuel does not give up on sinkerballer Herndon. I have a gut feeling that this guy may be a great find.
    In his last outing he threw ground balls, trouble is many of them had eyes and turned into hits. Unfortunate for Herndon, but he did what he was supposed to do. GO PHILS !!!!!

  3. shag beta sigma delta

    April 21, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I am usually an overly optimistic phillies fan, I know we are hard to find. KK did a really good job and if he keeps up the control will be a fine #4 or #5 pitcher for this team
    The pen on the other hand is driving me crazy. I agree that Contreras, had one bad pitch that got rocked. I know it is a very small sample size and Madson has only a few save opportunites, and last night was his first blown save, but He is not a closer, after he gave up the two run shot he should have been taken out. Not saying it would have helped, but it is in his head, the ninth inning freaks him out. Until Lidge gets back they should have no closer, and do match ups in the 9th, none of which include Madson. Contreras would be a good choice, and despite his last outing, Herdon can be a one or two batter 9th inning guy. Even Durbin if the match up is right. There is now way this team should give up three runs in the 9th inning. Madson track record shows when he blows a save it gets to him and he usually does not respond well for the next few outings. He has to go back to being the 8th inning set up guy to get his grove back, so when Lidge returns he is comfortable again.
    Doc on the mound tonight is thinking he has to go nine because he will not come out of the game and leave it to this pen. It is early and tonight is by no means a must win. But will be very disapointed if they do not win. Looking forward to AZ game which I will be at on Saturday
    Go Phils

  4. shag beta sigma delta

    April 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    wow I am long winded so sorry about that. But have been away from a computer for a few days.

  5. WFC010

    April 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Hamels and Kendrick both showed us a lot to like in their last outings, and tomorrow is Moyer’s chance to turn things around.

    Tonight we have Halladay on the mound, and I wish I could be more optimistic for a win…but between the bullpen troubles and current offensive slump, even this one won’t be a guaranteed win.

    Wouldn’t that be funny if Doc ended up pitching a complete game, only to lose because nobody gave him run support?

    …I hope that doesn’t happen.

  6. shag beta sigma delta

    April 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    though three runs is not going to win every game, they faced a pretty good pitcher and had a 3-0 lead into the ninth. I think it will take either an off night by Doc or an army to get him to come out of tonight’s game.

  7. George

    April 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Please stop all the complaining about the bullpen. The only two who have had any real trouble so far are Madson and Baez.

    Madson, even as a set-up guy, is always way too close to a hitter’s “happy zone” for my taste. Right now he seems to have location troubles, which makes for disaster no matter what inning he pitches. I also wish he’d alter his pitch patterns once in a while. Players are looking for the change-up most of the time, particularly when he can’t locate his fastball. He will improve, though, and is still the best choice until Lidge returns.

    It’s the performance by Kendrick we should be commenting on. Let’s hope he continues to be aggressive, mix his pitches, and hit his spots. He really seemed to be in top form last night.

  8. Repeat!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Don’t let the crazy Madson meltdown blind you. This Atlanta Braves(64 incld 16 on opening day) offense has some continuity and power issues. This is the same team that was just no-hit. Kendrick 8 s/o inns and only 4 hits/1bb? Sorry, but Kendrick ain’t that good. Only the Mets(58) have scored less runs in the div so far and Atlanta is a little less than the middle of the pact in the entire NL in runs scored overall. It’s only been 13 games, but this are legitimate concerns down in Atlanta. Glaus (Mr. Game Winning hr) is a dinasour and we all know how old C. Jones is. The Phils are a mentally tough team. They well bounce back and square the series at 1-1 tonite.

  9. Repeat!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    also.. Braves ( 57) runs allowed thru 13 games, Phillies (53). are Braves (+7) in run diff, Phils (+28). Only the Yankees are better in MLB at +29.

  10. Chuck

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm


    Yeah, you “went nuts” alright.

    Calling me an “a-hole” and a “blog bully” ……when it wasn’t even warranted. I wasn’t even part of the discussion when you went off like that. I understand your frustration with the outcome of the game. I think we all felt pretty frustrated.

    If you want to disagree with me over certain issues, then fine. I’m all for it….as long as you have some facts to back up your arguments.

    But, PLEASE,for all of our sakes….no more name-calling, ok?? Especially, “a-hole”. Truly a low-ball,classless move by you.

    Seriously, an apology is in order.

    Now….as to your comments just a bit ago….you may be surprised to learn that I actually agree with you. Kendrick was “masterful”as you said and I am also encouraged by the starting pitching. Herndon should not be overlooked and,yes, we need Brad Lidge.

  11. BurrGundy

    April 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Chuck, I am not too big to apologize. I crossed the line and am sorry to have offended you. Sometimes I do feel that you get a little acrimonious and sarcastic, but that is your choice and privilege. I don’t know you and really had no right to cast aspersions at you.

  12. Chuck

    April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks. Accepted.

    Now….GO PHILS!!

  13. BurrGundy

    April 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Also, Chuck, I must make a confession. I am enormously passionate (perhaps too much so) about the Phils. Virtually fanatical. Last night I really did lose it when Madson had his meltdown. Thank heavens no other sport or sports team brings this mania out in me. Not even my kids did when they grew up, or the game of golf, which I still sting at. Again, however, I am truly sorry to have offended you. I was wrong.

  14. Chuck

    April 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Listen…I get it. I have “lost it” over games like this before as well. I’m as passionate as the next guy. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it’s just a stinking baseball game.

    For some reason, last night I was pretty calm as I watched everything unfold. Sure, I uttered a few choice words and phrases in disgust. But, as it was happening I just sat there on the couch……calm. I really don’t know why. It’s not like I didn’t care.. In fact, I cared so much that I jumped on this site after the game which I usually don’t do late at night (I’m usually a daytime guy…I need my sleep!). Guess it was my form of therapy after such a tough loss.

    Anyway, no more apologies needed. It’s all good.

    Oh, and when I said no more name-calling, what I meant was name-calling in a mean-spirited or ugly way. Call me other things in fun …..ex: I heve been called a “Ruben apologist” a “Phillies employee” and just the other day Dipsy called me a “Tea Partier” (still don’t quite get that one). I’m not so thin-skinned that I can’t take a good jab once in awhile. Makes it fun on here!

  15. BurrGundy

    April 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Hot off the Press —- the 7-11 stores have announced that they will soon make and sell their own brand of beer. Damn !!!! I wonder if we will ever feature it on a pregame analysis as the beer of the day ? Also, I wonder if the beer will ever be dispensed from a slurpee machine. This is not baloney. The announcement has been made. In many states you can buy beer from convenience stores and grocery stores.

  16. Chuck

    April 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    A beer slurpee. Hmmmm…not a bad idea.

  17. philsgirl

    April 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Kyle looked great so a lot of us were upset about the loss and already scared to see Madson come in before the damage was done. Today’s a new day.

  18. Bruce

    April 21, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    It’s all about location, location, LOCATION. When Kendrick has his command of pitches, especially his sinker, he can be very effective. One good start does not make a season for him. I’ll reserve my judgement on him until he has a few more starts. I’m thinking that when Blanton comes off the DL and returns to the starting rotation, Kendrick could then be moved to the bullpen. It could be a shot in the arm for the bullpen. Romero is almost ready to return as well and will be follow shortly by Lidge. They can’t come soon enough.

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