Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kendrick: "No Time to Worry"

Kyle Kendrick is 0-2 with a 16.43 ERA in three spring training starts, but he and the Phillies aren't worried yet.

Kendrick: "No Time to Worry"

DAVID M WARREN / Inquirer

Like Chip Diller said, "Remain calm! All is well!"

But is it?

Hitters have pounded Kyle Kendrick in each of his last two Grapefruit League starts.

He's 0-2 this spring.

He has a 16.43 ERA.

"I haven't struggled like this in a long time," said Kendrick, who allowed seven hits and six runs in two innings in yesterday's 9-4 loss to the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. "It was bound to happen; I know what I'm doing. I knew what I did today. I'm not worried about anything, but I want to have good outings. I'm not going to start panicking - there's nothing to start panicking about. If this kept going until June, then we should start panicking."

He's right. It's too early to panic, but it's not too early to be a little concerned. He's their No. 3 starter, assuming the Phillies split up lefthanders Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer in the rotation. Kendrick's early struggles actually wouldn't be such a big deal if Adam Eaton had silenced his critics this spring. But he hasn't. He's 0-2 with a 15.75 ERA, and now he has a bad back (the Phillies say the back shouldn't keep him off the mound, but Eaton said it could bother him throughout the season).

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Kendrick, who is a sinker ball pitcher, simply is too strong at the moment. Sinker ball pitchers often are better when they pitch a little tired, which helps them get more sink or movement on the ball. Dubee said Kendrick isn't there yet, so for a command pitcher without much movement on the ball -- it's easy pickings for big-league hitters.

The Phillies hope Dubee is right.

Because if Eaton remains Eaton and Kendrick suddenly comes back to Earth, it could be a long season for the Phillies, Charlie Manuel and his bullpen.

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Phillies pitchers have a 6.16 ERA this spring.

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Chicks dig the long ball.

Phil Sheridan talked with two kings of the long ball: Ryan Howard and John Daly, who share a mutual admiration for one another.

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Brad Lidge throws off the mound today. He could pitch in a Grapefruit League game next week, which would put him on schedule to be ready for the March 31 season opener.

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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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