Kyle Kendrick would benefit from reverse-closer

Justin Edmonds

Noted squirrel-watcher Kyle Kendrick would be okay if the Phillies had a guy whose job was to get three outs in the first inning.

They could call him the "primer," and he'd throw some 98 m.p.h. heat to blow the first three batters of an opposing order away. Then, the bullpen gate swings open and KK trots out, fully warm and ready to go, and throws the rest of his start like nothing is weird.

"Hard to explain," Ryne Sandberg called them in last night's post game presser. It was his second long pause in front of reporters in a few days, which is quite few for the manager of a last place ball club.

Perhaps he was already envisioning the fantasy, only real, that the Phillies would be playing today.

Sandberg was speaking on the classically squirelly first inning troubles of Kyle Kendrick, who once again couldn't escape the opening of the Phillies three-game series against the Braves without allowing three runs.

What is the meaning of this? Kendrick has been trying new and different things to avoid early damage - Ryne Sandberg said he'd been doing something he called a "little up and down simulating."

Whether he's found time to relax on his hippity-hop before the game or not, Kendrick's struggles are inarguable:

  • Career: 5.75 ERA, 25 HR, 210 H, 51 BB in 169 IP
  • 2007: 3.15 ERA, 0 HR, 20 H, 4 BB in 20 IP
  • 2008: 5.40 ERA, 3 HR, 35 H, 13 BB in 30 IP
  • 2009: Allowed no earned runs! But only threw in two first innings.
  • 2010: 7.55 ERA, 5 HR, 41 H, 12 BB in 31 IP
  • 2011: 4.80 ERA, 3 HR, 19 H, 3 BB in 15 IP
  • 2012: 6.48 ERA, 6 HR, 30 H, 18 BB in 25 IP
  • 2013: 4.50 ERA, 4 HR, 37 H, 21 BB in 30 IP
  • 2014: 9.00 ERA, 4 HR, 28 H, 5 BB in 16 IP

The disparity between Kendrick's first inning numbers and those of most others (He's not great in the fourth, either, but by then the Phillies have already lost) is both real and horrifying. It's not totally surprising that the best answer to one of the Phillies' problems is to invent a new position; but, here we are.

Anyways, let's do this O'Sullivan/Hernandez double header!

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