The Fightins'
May
12
2011
The Futile Utility of Kyle Kendrick
Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 4:20 pm ET 43 Comments

Let’s be honest: A lot of us don’t like Kyle Kendrick. I’m talking about Kyle Kendrick, the pitcher, and not Kyle Kendrick, the person, who I assume is a pretty swell guy with a pretty wife who lets him pose in awkward and embarrassing photo shoots like this one.

But this is not about Kyle Kendrick, the person-slash-model-slash-perennial prankee. This is about how he manages to succeed, in some capacity, at a sport in which he is not considered to even be an average player.

Wednesday night, in a tie game against the Florida Marlins, in a game that is as important as a game can be in May, Kendrick was charged with pitching, at the time, the biggest inning of the game – bottom of the eighth, tied at three. This all in light of the fact that there were no fewer than three pitchers who were not only better, but available, and that he had to snake his way through the middle of the Marlins lineup, which, if you’re keeping score, is pretty damn good.

Even today, knowing the outcome of the inning and the game, I’m still beside myself because I can’t quite comprehend how we got to the point where Kendrick, he who is without an outpitch, is a semi-important cog in the bullpen.

Sure, he won so many of us over with this delightful 2007 debut, but he got rocked in 2008 and thusly spent most of 2009 in the minor leagues. Then he grew some facial hair (in an attempt to absorb some of Roy Halladay’s awesomeness through a process known as beardmosis), and ended up making 31 starts in 2010 because every starter not named Roy or Cole got hurt, much to the chagrin of one Rich Dubee and in spite of the fact that he can’t strike anyone out to save his life.*

*Stat time: Of pitchers who pitched at least 150 innings in 2010, only one pitcher had a worse K/9 rate than Kyle Kendrick’s 4.18: Minnesota’s Nick Blackburn, who struck out 3.8 per nine. Predictably, he had an ERA of 5.42. That is not a coincidence.

Anyway, back to last night. After the Phillies tied the game in the top of the eighth, Charlie Manuel opted to send Kyle Kendrick to the hill in the bottom half of the inning, even though both Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo – two guys who will never be confused for Nick Blackburn – were not only available, but they were warming up in case Kyle got into trouble, which is about as far from a vote of confidence from your manager as you can get.

But by some miraculous feat, Kendrick was not only able to put up a zero, but he was also the pitcher of record and earned the win because the Phillies scored a pair of runs in the top half of the next inning. All this, despite the fact that he walked the leadoff hitter, gave up a single, and, in most impressive fashion, threw only four of his 12 pitches for strikes – that’s 33% –  but he still  managed to squirm out of trouble thanks to a very timely double play ball off the bat of John Buck that ended the inning.*

To recap: Roy Halladay allows one earned run over eight, gets the loss. Kyle Kendrick escapes trouble in spite of himself, gets the win. Baseball!

At this point, and in light of the events that occurred last night, I almost feel like it is time for us to embrace Kyle Kendrick as not only a bonafide Major Leaguer, but also a key component in the bullpen. After all, it takes some kind of skill to be able to do what he does (Pitch to contact, not strike guys out) and still come out smelling like a rose (3-2 record, more wins than Cliff Lee, 1.42 ERA).

So, I guess what I am saying is that Kyle Kendrick has a secret. And that secret is magic.

(Only known photo of The Kendrickorn, courtesy of Where’s Weems?)

Behold…The Kendrickorn!

Berthed in the mountainous regions of the state of Washington, The Kendrickorn can befuddle opposing hitters with a mix of mediocre sinkers and sliders while confounding them with a changeup that, while not offering any sort of deception or movement, will be wildly successful in confusing the opposing hitters while they and their wide eyes swing for the fences, only to ground out weakly to the second baseman. The Kendrickorn cares not for strikeouts, as he finds them to be the tools of the weak, for only a true Ace can have the stones to willfully allow his opponents to put the ball into play, with confidence so abundant that it literally alters the path of the ball in mid flight or bounce, thus rendering the argument of BABIP (which The Kendrickorn refers to as nerdagra) utterly and irrepressibly useless in it’s employment and design.

The Kendrickorn is your new Ace. The Kendrickorn is the new hotness. The Kendrickorn is that feeling in your gut that tells that you that it’s going to be just fine, even in the face of doom. The Kendrickorn is the last french fry lodged in the bottom of the bag. The Kendrickorn is the spoiler to every movie you’ve ever seen. The Kendrickorn is what makes cell phone technology possible.

The Kendrickorn is all of us.

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43 Responses to “The Futile Utility of Kyle Kendrick”

  1. meech.one says:

    That is the most disturbing picture I’ve ever seen.

  2. Weems says:

    That was a gift for you, meech.

  3. Phylan says:

    The Kendrickorn also has impeccable taste in assless chaps

  4. “I need you to make Kyle Kendrick look like magic.” was the only direction that Weems was given. It is not at all disconcerting that he went there.

  5. phillieschick says:

    That picture is going to give me nightmares.

  6. Schmitter22 says:

    My life is ruined after seeing this picture.

  7. Greenman! says:

    ze goggles! ze do nothing!

  8. I am convinced that the Phillies offense is in a conspiracy to get Kyle Kendrick the most wins of any pitcher on their roster. Just look at the frustration on the faces of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee when they pitch.

  9. Morandini's Triple Play says:

    OW! MY EYES! MY EYES!!

  10. FanSince09 says:

    Should of kept JA Happ!

  11. Danyiel says:

    Wow. That’s just wrong. Funny…but wrong.

  12. SchmidtUltra says:

    What has been seen can not be unseen!

  13. Sweet Dee says:

    I… I can’t handle this picture.

  14. MOAB says:

    wallpaper/tiled

  15. Chuck in 'Bama says:

    So now we know where The Machine got his inspiration from…

  16. Let’s reserve hate for Kendrick until he deserves it. I have said for a while now that he should be in the ‘pen. It’s not far into the season so far, but it’s definitely working out pretty well.

  17. BakedMcBride says:

    Every unicorn I know – and it must be, what, 20 or 30? – has an out pitch and a higher k rate. And they are all tops.

  18. Nikita says:

    I am convinced that the Phillies offense is in a conspiracy to get Kyle Kendrick the most wins of any pitcher on their roster.

    The baseball Illuminati designed the heinous scheme at their last Bohemian Grove confab.

  19. Nikco Riesgo says:

    Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they’re fascist!

  20. The Sarge says:

    You ‘Jerk Off’ the ball – almost wanna let this guy here jam you – and if it comes, it comes.

  21. Magowan says:

    I actually lost my breath laughing at that image.

  22. Whelp, now I’m horny. Again.

  23. RSR says:

    Hooves? I always forget the hooves!

  24. Oh my god. No joke. That could be the greatest picture ever on this site. Weems, please do tell what the fuck you googled to come up with the original, or was this just stashed away in some Uniporn file you keep…

  25. stinkbug says:

    this sort of look is popular in japan.

  26. Shane says:

    wow. just wow.

  27. @ WWMSD and @ Weems – Okay, I get it. But seriously. Is this the first thing Weems thought of when having to make a picture of KK? It’s just so disturbingly funny on many, many levels. I wish he would have redone the one with the rhinestone ball gag though.

  28. Zaahida says:

    Can’t . . . Breathe. Laughing . . . too hard . . .

  29. Weems says:

    @PhillyPhanInChi
    One day I will tell you all the tale of my encounter with the Kendrickorn. I may have another photo too.

  30. Jim says:

    I better see this picture every game thread where Kendrick starts till the end of time

  31. CannedHeat says:

    @31 – I second this.

  32. Jay Rose says:

    New fan club at Phillies games for sure

  33. rhymeface says:

    Weems has obviously been smoking weed on the reg.

    A+

    110% Backed Hard

  34. Jessica says:

    Please pass me the brain bleach!

  35. Joe D says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t understand why we even give Kendrick the time of day? I mean seriously. Who cares? He is so small on this club right now. The fucking bat boy deserves more attention. If this were 2007 and we were counting on him to pull smoke and mirrors again then yeah I’d give a shit about him but as it stands he is firmly behind Halladay-Lee-Oswalt-Hamels-Blanton-Worley. Absolute low man on the totem pole.

  36. Lynniemac says:

    Not sure how anyone could manage to make the simultaneously most disturbing, yet most hilarious picture I’ve seen in forever. It’s so awful, it may just have to be my new phone wallpaper.

  37. Meg says:

    I’ve always thought the problem was his lack of consistency. The kid can pitch 6 innings against the Braves with no earned runs, but then turn around and allow 3 runs in the 8th the next day. The last couple games have been pretty good though. Kendrickorn magic or not, he’s doing alright.

  38. Schmitter22 says:

    @38-
    I agree. I don’t want to look at it, but I find myself going back to look at it all the time.

  39. rhymeface says:

    @40 It’s more of a case of not wanting to get caught looking at it than actually looking at it. It’s not exactly Lemon Party is it?

  40. Schmitter22 says:

    Ha, maybe you’re right, because when I look at it at work, I do a quick check to make sure no one is around.

  41. MacJacMcCoy says:

    ummmmmmmm Friessss

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Written by Dash Treyhorn

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