Kyle Kendrick knows what you are thinking.
"Battle of the aces," he said yesterday as he jogged past a few reporters on his way to the Phillies' pre-game stretch yesterday in Atlanta.
Kendrick had his usual shrimp-eatin' grin plastered across his face.
Hey, there's no use beating around the scouting report. According to Vegas, the Phillies are the biggest underdogs in the National League tonight.
According to Covers.com, the current money line is -178 in favor of Washington, which means you have to bet $178 to win $100. Before tonight, the Phillies' longest odds came against the Giants and Madison Bumgarner on April 17, when San Francisco was -136. That being said, the Phillies were the heaviest favorites on April 27 against the Cubs, when Roy Halladay had a -235 money line against Paul Maholm.
As far as I can tell, the last time the Phillies were this big of an underdog in a meaningful regular season game (read: not the last week of September) was June 17, 2010, when the Yankees were -222 against them. Kendrick started that day against Andy Pettitte and held New York to one run on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts in seven innings.
The Phillies won 7-1.
Since Kendrick broke into the majors in 2007, his sinker has averaged 89.8 MPH, per fangraphs.com. Since Strasburg broke into the majors in 2010, his change-up has averaged 89.3 MPH, per fangraphs.com.
Just for fun, check out the following two lists:
Highest career K/9, MLB starter since 1947 (min. 22 GS)
1. Stephen Strasburg 10.89
2. Randy Johnson 10.61
3. Mark Prior 10.37
4. Pedro Martinez 10.04
5. Rick Ankiel 10.00
Lowest career K/9, MLB starter since 2007 (min. 22 GS)
1. Steve Traschel 3.28
2. Paul Byrd 4.01
3. Jeremy Sowers 4.01
4. Aaron Cook 4.09
5. Kyle Kendrick 4.19
Prediction: Phillies 11, Nationals -3.