Kudos to WL for the working title, which applies win or lose to any Kendrick start:)
There's something magical about Wrigley Field. The Ivory walls; The memories of rivalries gone by; Baseball without lights... most of you are too young to remember Mike Schmidt's 4 home run game in 1976, or The 45 run game in 1979, but almost 33 years to the day, The Phillies returned to Wrigley, sans Schmidt and Kingman, as Kyle Kendrick took the hill for the injured Vance Worley. Weird things happen at Wrigley. Tonight was no exception.
My personal expectations were not too high going in, and I'll admit to having written a recap prior to the game that went something like this:
Kyle Kendrick got creamed in the second inning tonight, as the cubs scored 6 runs, off of three homers, which would surely be enough. The Bullpen is sure to make it even worse, and No Phillies will hit, so I'm just gonna go watch American Idol and maybe get in good with the wife... autopost set for 11:30 pm. Catz out.
The first inning was typical of what we've seen recently. Jimmy Rollins pop up, Juan Pierre reaches base on a yip throw by Garza on some sort of bunt thingy, almost gets thrown out at second base stealing, advances to third, and Pence lumberjacks a grounder and can't score the run.
When David Dejesus roped a double to lead off the bottom of the inning, and found himself sitting on third after a perfectly executed Bunt by Tony Campana, it was as if the polar opposite of what we were trying to do in the first inning was happening. Then a funny thing happened.
Good Kyle showed up. The Kyle You were warned about
He struck out Castro, and got arguably the hottest hitter in the NL, Bryan LaHair to fly out on 8 pitches. He would allow only 2 more hits over 6 solid innings, walking none and striking out 4, with no double plays.
Seriously. No double plays. (I believe unless I missed something, BTW that this was the first start of Kendricks career where he allowed 0 BB and 0 GIDP in the same game.)
Freddy Galvis had an RBI single in the second and that wold have been enough if not for Juan Pierre and his voodoo magic. For those of you who missed it, Pierre had two bunt type hits (I think one was actually an error) which were clearly enchanted with some sort of haitian magic on the ball, because each time Matt Garza picked it up to throw to first he yipped. Like really bad. Like comically bad.
Unfortunately, on the 14th pitch to Bryan LaHair of the 4th inning, that same ball, settling in a routine fly pattern toward LF literally bounced off Pierres glove, and instead of none on, and 2 outs, theres a man on second with one out.
Alfonso Soriano took the mojo deep for his 2nd HR of the year on the next AB and suddenly the cubs were leading 2-1.
Those would be the last base runners Chicago had all day, as Kendrick mowed em down in the 5th and 6th, and the combination of Contreras in the 7th, Bastardo in the 8th and Valdes in the ninth would go 9 up 9 down with 5 K's.
Bullpen looked DAMN good. DAMN good.
In between, Pierre made up for his gaffe earlier by doubling in the 5th, and scoring on a Victorino IF single to tie the game, and Chooch continued his torrid start with a monster blast over Schmidts spot in the LF ivory in the 8th to take back the lead.
Then, just because, we tacked on 6 runs in the 9th, including a Hector Luna Grand Slam.
Wrigley field is Magic kids. Its where dreams are made, and where bullshit Aprils and horseshit half Mays turn into dominant no looking back launching pads of WINNING.
Feeling good yet? More reason to celebrate after the break...
Don't say this too loud, but thats 4 in a row... Yay Guys!
Also tomorrow we get Volstad and they get Halladay.
Super Yay Guys!
Someone edit in that Fangraph thing. I'm too old and curmudgeony to figure it out.