Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Brett Myers gets the start for the Phillies today in the series finale against the Marlins. (Ron Cortes/Inquirer)

Things suddenly look very unsettled in the Phillies rotation.

The Phillies need a starter for tomorrow night's series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. They might need another starter Sunday, too.

Kyle Kendrick got rocked last night in a 10-8 loss to the Florida Marlins. He allowed seven runs in 1 1/3 innings, which made last night the worst start of his career. His previous worst start happened Aug. 11 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, where he allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. Kendrick is 1-4 with an 11.35 ERA (29 earned runs in 23 innings) in his last six starts, beginning with that start in Los Angeles.

He has not pitched six innings once in that stretch.

He has allowed six or more runs four times.

If this were the beginning of the season, the Phillies could afford to be patient with Kendrick. But there are only 17 games left and they're 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East and three games behind the Brewers in the wild card.

They need to make up some ground quickly. Kendrick is not helping matters.

"We'll talk about our pitching. We'll try to figure out the best possible way for us to go," Charlie Manuel said about Kendrick's spot in the rotation.

The Phillies appear to have a few options at this point:

  • Give the ball to Kendrick.
  • Give the ball to lefthander J.A. Happ. He allowed five hits and three runs in 31/3 innings in relief of Kendrick. But he also had an 8.49 ERA in his last three starts for triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Brewers also hit .275 against lefthanders, compared to .247 against righthanders. "This is the stretch drive and he's kind of inexperienced with where you're going to put him," Manuel said. "I'm not saying he can't do the job because I've seen him pitch a good game, and he's going to be a good big-league pitcher."
  • Adam Eaton? Manuel would not even say that's a possibility last night, and for good reason. Eaton was 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA before the Phillies optioned him to the minors in July. He went 0-4 with a 7.02 ERA in seven starts in the minors. If he had shown signs of anything positive in the minors, maybe they could go this way. But he actually pitched worse against minor-league hitting.
  • Pitch Brett Myers on three days rest. He has pitched on short rest just once in his career: Oct. 3, 2004. He is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA (three earned runs in five innings).
  • Make it a bullpen day.

I expect to know more about tomorrow night's starter before today's series finale against the Marlins. The Phillies might not announce a decision on Sunday's starter until later this week.


Bob Ford writes that with 17 games to play it's no time for Manuel to be patient with his players. Go with the hot hand.


In the Phillies Notebook: Jamie Moyer could pitch on short rest tomorrow night.