If you haven’t been paying much, or any, attention Roy Halladay has not exactly rounded back into form coming off of a horrendous 2012 season. Not only has Halladay not rounded back into form, but his velocity is down even further than it was at this time last season. And after allowing 11 of 18 faced batters to reach base in a Triple-A start today, speculation is swirling that Roy Halladay might not even begin the season with the Phillies. And Halladay’s struggles have taken all of the attention off of Cliff Lee, also coming off a disappointing season of his own, who is 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in spring training. And the Phillies don’t have Vance Worley to fall back on this year because they traded him for Ben Revere in the offseason. So who needs to step up in the Phillies rotation? One, Kyle Kendrick.
Kendrick, coming off of a season in which he made 25 total starts and 12 appearences out of the bullpen, has gone from not being good enough to be in a rotation that just a few years ago we were debating whether it was the best rotation ever, to potentially opening up the season as the number three guy. Again there has been nothing reported that Roy Halladay won’t begin the season at the MLB level, but he just does not appear ready either physically, or mentally. And mentally Roy Halladay has always been on another level than hitters, so if he isn’t mentally adjusted to the fact that he isn’t throwing 92 MPH anymore, conventional wisdom suggests that Phillies brass will realize that he needs more time to prepare. So it all comes back to Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick went 11-12 in 2012, and even threw a complete game shutout, on Fox’s baseball night in America. There were certainly points in the year where Kendrick pitched at the level of a middle of the rotation guy. Unfortunately as indicated by the 3.90 ERA that he finished with, he didn’t consistently pitch at that level.
Kendrick needs to reach a point this year where he can win 12-14 games and have an ERA around 3.50, because with the exception of Cole Hamels, Kendrick is the only pitcher in the Phillies projected rotation that doesn’t enter 2013 with major concerns. The aforementioned concerns with Halladay cannot be understated, Cliff Lee isn’t a lock heading into 2013, and John Lannan, who is likely to be the fifth starter, didn’t even pitch at the MLB level in 2012, and was a below average pitcher when he had in the past. So for the Phillies to realistically have a shot to compete with the Nationals and Braves in the division and other teams in the NL for the wild-card, Kyle Kendrick is going to have to pitch at the level where he is not only one of the better, but more consistent middle of the rotation starters in the MLB.
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