After another competent showing by Kyle Kendrick in yesterday’s 8-7 win over Houston, Jamie Moyer stakes his claim against the Yanks. Asked if it’s an important start for Moyer? ‘Not really,’ says the skipper. [Link]
As the Phils delve deeper into spring training, and with total certainty that there will be three initial openings in the bullpen, even his staunchest critics must admit that Moyer makes the most sense to head north as the fifth starter. Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero’s stay on the disabled list will allow the Phillies to monitor Moyer, although I wouldn’t expect the Phillies to pull the plug until June, even if his ERA soars over 7. It also makes sense since Kendrick has options, as does Antonio Bastardo. So when Lidge and Romero are ready to come off the DL, they’ll have a few weeks to decide how to make room. April will also be an audition period for Rule 5 righty David Herndon.
Kendrick also makes sense as a long man, and with Lidge out of action, the Phils could actually use another righty. Although he filled the role effectively last year, the Phillies feel that at 48, Moyer isn’t a viable option for the ‘pen.
It’s also important to remember that history says Moyer, who had a 3.48 ERA after the all-star break, is a better starter than Kendrick, and can pitch deeper into games. Moyer has averaged 5.92 innings in 91 starts over the last three years. Kendrick has averaged 5.52 in 52 starts over that span, which isn't necessarily a small sample size.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with grooming a young pitcher slowly through the ‘pen. Just ask J.A. Happ, who was a year older than Kendrick at this time last year. A bullpen assignment would keep Kendrick confident and hungry.