Kyle Kendrick continued his inspired performance with another quality effort Monday night, improving to 7-2 with a 2.34 ERA since the All-Star break, tops among Phillies starters.
Kendrick's strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton to escape a bases loaded jam Monday night electrified the Citizens Bank Park crowd in what amounted to the game's defining moment. Kendrick has rarely - if ever - been classified as a dominator, but that's the only way to describe the pitbull who toed the slab last night.
He's been so good, in fact, there really isn't a more deserving Phillie worthy of being named second-half MVP. Here's how we view a possible Top 5 second-half Phillies at Beerleaguer headquarters, with Drew Silverman and Matt Grassie also polled.
1. Kyle Kendrick; 2. Erik Kratz; 3. Cole Hamels; 4. John Mayberry Jr.; 5. Cliff Lee. Did you know Cliff Lee is sporting a 70-6 strikeout-to-walk rate since the break? For that reason, we're forced to give honorable mention to dirtball third baseman Kevin Frandsen and we wish there was some other way to define what Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have meant to the club, because it's been undeniably huge. Howard is already up to 40 RBIs, but the greater benefit is having that impact clean-up back in the lineup again.
Final thought - With the exception of Kendrick, the Phillies' surge is best described as a total team effort, since we've witnessed all-around improvement in every single area.