Pitching at 80 percent

cynth_blogpic.JPGGenerally speaking, 4 out of 5 isn’t bad. Unless of course you’re talking about starting pitchers. But that’s the exact position Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel finds himself in. Manuel has 4 of the 5 starting pitching slots filled but hasn’t announced who is 5th man will be. And he admits that he doesn’t even know who it’ll be.
The team’s Ace is Cole Hamels. Last year the lefty had a stellar performance going 15-5 with a 3.39 ERA. Hamel’s signature change up helped to propel the Phillies to a stunning comeback to capture the NL East title.
Joining Hamels is Brett Myers. Last years Myers was the team’s closer but this season he’ll make a return to the starting 5 in the second spot. As a closer, Myers had a 5-7 record with a 4.33 ERA. His career stats, which include time as a starting pitcher are better with a 59-47 record an a 4.34 ERA. Myers is known for his heater that’s struck out 773 batters in his career.
Veteran Jamie Moyer has the third spot for Manuel’s club. Unlike Myers, Moyer doesn’t pack a lot of heat, instead he uses his control and finesse to get the outs.
Sophomore Kyle Kendrick grabbed the 4th spot thanks to his out of nowhere performance last season. Kendrick started the season in AA Reading but made the jump to “The Show” in June. Prior to joining the big club, Kendrick was 4-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts for Reading. Kendrick showed considerable improvement when he got the call and finished ’07 with a 10-4 record and 3.21 ERA in 20 starts. That performance helped Kendrick to led all NL rookies in wins last year.
Manuel has been rotating several pitchers to try and find his fifth go to guy. But it’s the fillers who have been performing well. So far this Spring, the Phillies have team ERA of over 6, and Hamels and Kendrick both have ERA’s over 12 and donuts in the win column. Conversely, Moyer and Myers are both perfect with a 0.00 ERA and a 1-0 record.
Today’s performance against the Blue Jays ( a team with the worst batting average in the Grapefruit League) won’t help Kendrick’s numbers any, he got bounced early after giving up 6 runs. Tomorrow J.D. Durbin will take a shot at moving on up to a starting job.
-Cynthia Johnson, reporting from Clearwater