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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kyle Kendrick Should Have Earned Your Respect By Now

by: Chris Creighton
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Kendrick isn't that guy
Kyle Kendrick is only 28 years old. Seems like he's been here forever and to many Philadelphia fans, it's kind of the same as when the office know-it-all or socially inappropriate joker never gets fired and continues to work next to you for a few years. It feels like an eternity because he just won't go away and probably doesn't plan to anytime soon, collecting his weekly paycheck and pouring the dollars on top of his 401k. Naturally, the only thing left to do during every work day is to talk about that guy behind his back relentlessly or maybe mockingly doing an impersonation of him from time-to-time.

But perhaps along the way, you got caught up in all the office fun and might have missed the value that guy might bring to the team. Because in any business, it's about the bottom line where the numbers can't lie. While his production may appear to be inferior to his co-workers, it may be up to snuff relative to his territory and he's actually pulling his weight. Management must have had a reason to have stuck with him for so long, right?

For years now, Kyle Kendrick has been treated by Philadelphia fans in the same fashion, but was really only that guy back in 2008 and maybe 2010. Sure, he's thrown his share of inappropriate pitches leading to uncomfortable silences, puts strange pictures in his cubicle, somehow has the trophy wife, wears the enemy team's jersey on casual Friday, and maybe some think he has just "one of those faces".

Halladay, Lee and Hamels
But since the 2010 season, Kendrick has emerged as one of the best employees in his territory in Major League Baseball as a fourth or fifth starter. He toils among a staff of high-profile executives where two were at the top of their class at Cy Young University and another working towards his degree at the firm of Halladay, Lee and Hamels. Maybe this is a little unfair since it casts quite a big shadow for Kendrick to shine, but he has learned plenty while working alongside the three aces.
"I learned how to carry myself off the field (from the veterans)...just the whole learning process. You watch the guys who have been around a long time, pitching a long time are obviously doing something right. So you want to follow those guys" - Dennis Deitch, Montgomery MediaFeb 19, 2013 (@DennisDeitch)
For the past two seasons, Kyle Kendrick's performance on the hill has produced some of the best results by a 4th-5th starter in the National League. And when you include his hot start this season, he's posted a record of 21-19, a 3.17 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP since the end of the 2010 season. Statistics which are quite fitting--and probably above average--for a pitcher taking the ball fourth or fifth in line.

Generated 4/27/2013.

Kendrick has shown a gradual progression towards becoming quite a reliable mainstay on this Phillies staff and has always had the respect of his teammates and coaches. He has embraced his role on this Phillies team and has always been a good soldier when asked to accept an assignment in the bullpen over the years, which is a starting pitcher's equivalent to being moved to storage B.

So isn't it funny that he may actually be the kind of guy you'd want around the office? One that gets the job done and takes the ball every fifth day despite all the criticism. Because he's not Roy Halladay, he's not Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels. He's Kyle Kendrick and he's a pretty good pitcher on this staff of aces. And after last night's masterful three hit, complete game shutout of the New York Mets, maybe he should start to get more respect from the Philadelphia Phaithful. He's certainly earned it.