April 15, 2010
Mr. Kyle Rodney Kendrick
c/o The Philadelphia Phillies
1 Citizens Park Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Dear Mr. Kendrick:
I am writing in regards to your recent performance as the temporary number three starting pitcher of the Philadelphia Phillies. As you are certainly aware you are currently sporting an abysmal 17.47 ERA and a 0-0 record because you have yet to qualify for a decision due to you only pitching a total of 5.2 innings over two games.
You may not have ever been our ace, a Cole Hamels of yore or a Roy Halladay of today, but you’re not new to the mound at Citizens Bank Park. In 2007 you started 20 games for the Phillies and ended with a 10-4 record and a 3.87 ERA. You even finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. In 2008 you started 30 games and finished 11-9 with a 5.49 ERA. The team called on you again in 2009 and allowed you to compete for the fifth starter role for 2010. You have been depended on before and delivered and rarely disappointed.
That is until now.
Just like Cole Hamel’s 2-0 start to the season is a prime example of why a win-loss record is one of the most useless statistics in baseball, your spring training line is equally futile:
It was reported that you were following around Doc like a “puppy dog,” trying to beat him to the ballpark most mornings for workouts. You even grew out a reddish beard adding to the intensity of the budding bromance. It was all very cute and it seemed to be working. The only thing standing in your way of the 2010 starting lineup was Jamie Moyer – the spot was his to lose, not yours to win. You certainly played your heart out in Clearwater and when it was announced that you would be heading to the bullpen it was assumed that should Moyer become unreliable, you would be at the ready to take his spot. In a lucky break (although Joe would look at it differently) you still wound up as part of the phantastic-phive when Blanton hit the DL with an oblique strain. I was practically giddy when it was announced you would be starting a game I was going to be attending in DC for the Phils because I wanted to see mini-Doc (resident? intern?) in action. It wasn’t long before you started to struggle on the mound and make your stellar spring training stats totally forgettable:
The Phillies went on to notch their only loss of the year that night. Granted we’re only 8 games into the season but for a team that has the best record in all of baseball a week and a half after Opening Day that one loss sticks out like a sore thumb.
Tonight was more than just a repeat of last Thursday, it was an implosion of epic proportions. In case you forgot, here’s the line:
Yes, you read that right: 32.40 ERA and just 1.2 innings pitched. Obviously no club in their right mind would ever leave a pitcher in to see if they could actually give up 32 runs in nine innings but you have to admit – this is a little ridiculous. Again, I know this is only your second start of the season and these things sometimes happen even to the best pitchers in baseball, but it doesn’t make us miss Blanton any less, that’s for sure.
I’ll tell you the same thing I told Colbert. You can’t always depend on the offense to bail you out – even this lineup will fizzle once in a while and that’s something that can’t be helped. Baseball is a streaky sport and it’s expected to see ups and downs over the course of a season, but the start you’ve made leaves us nervous for what the future holds. We still have a few weeks before Joe B is ready to take over again and quite frankly the Phillies don’t have any other options if you keep this up. You don’t seem to be having emotional meltdowns like 2009 Hamels and you have the best mentor anyone could ever hope for in Roy Halladay so I’m still optimistic that this is going to be a quick fix – but it’s going to have to be quick. There are just too many question marks when it comes to the pitching staff that can’t always be answered by two touchdowns a night.
I just want you to look at the difference a few weeks have made and try to figure out how to get back to your spring training form, or at least split the difference. Even though we all know spring training means nothing when it comes to the real deal I can’t help but see just how far off the beaten path you’ve gone:
I believe in you and I believe you can straighten out before it becomes too late for you to rebound from. There is no telling when you’ll be needed again and I can only hope that you’ll become the gem you’ve been for Philly in the past when you’ve been needed in a pinch.
Your prompt attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.
Michelle O’Malley for the people of Philadelphia