I LIKED KYLE KENDRICK BEFORE IT WAS COOL

Not serving up any meatballs here

Actually, it probably still isn’t cool.

Kyle Kendrick pitched a pretty nifty game on Sunday. Eight innings of shutout ball against the Milwaukee Brewers is pretty damn good. He’s in the midst of a 15 consecutive inning scoreless streak, and that’s not even his longest such streak this season. What’s mind-blowing is that he dropped 22 straight scoreless innings earlier this summer.

This is coming from a guy with a 3.0 career WAR, a 4.38 ERA (96 ERA+), 1.384 WHIP, and 6.5 SO/9.

Kyle Kendrick is not great, but your fifth starter/swingman is never an above average guy. While it’s easy to pile on Kendrick because his performance is often a mirage, and he’s part of a rotation that includes Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee, maybe we should reconsider the situation.

After three months of mostly laying eggs (not the good ones), Kyle seemed to get his shit together right around the time summer began, which is when his first scoreless streak began. Since the beginning of July, this is what his numbers have looked like:

12 G / 4-1 / 37.1 IP / 1.94 ERA / 1.02 WHIP / 7.04 SO per 9

His numbers as a starter this season have been better. While SO/9 is consistent across the two roles, ERA and WHIP are much better.

Also, while his career SO/9 is 4.5, this year he’s trending at 6.5. Not too shabby, and if he can continue trending upwards on a consistent basis, paying the guy 4.5m+ per won’t be the worst thing in the world.

It’s also worth noting his career opponent splits, as there are certain teams that he pitches well against. He has decent to very good numbers when facing the Braves, Cubs (but don’t we all?), Cardinals, Marlins (although the ERA and WHIP could be lower), Giants, and Pirates. If you want to explore these splits further, visit Baseball Reference here.

So if you ever wonder why I bite my tongue when it comes to Kendrick, this is it. He’s a fifth starter, and for better or worse, he’s giving you exactly that.

I’m glad the Phillies didn’t trade him to Japan.

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