Kyle Kendrick Proved Himself To The Colorado Rockies On Sunday


Apr 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher K. Kendrick (38) throws in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We like to rag on the Colorado Rockies’ resident “innings-eater,” but he did something on Sunday that deserves credit and admiration. 

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I love to groan about Kyle Kendrick as much as the next guy, but the Colorado Rockies’ Opening Day starter deserves a tip of the cap for his outing on Sunday.

Kendrick, a Washington state native, was coming home to start his first game as a professional in the state where he’d gone to high school. It was also the first time he’d ever faced the Seattle Mariners, a team he may well have grown up following considering the geographic proximity.

In the start — an unlikely pitcher’s duel that the Colorado Rockies won, 3-2 — Kendrick went five innings, picked up the win (that’s two starts in a row!), and generally pitched about how the Rockies would’ve expected him to pitch this season before things fell off track almost immediately after Opening Day.

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Look, Kendrick has been a disaster this year. He better not be back in any way, shape, or form as a “buy-low” veteran starting pitcher next summer. There are far better options out there. And even though I won’t miss the Kyle Kendrick Experience one bit, I must give him a lot of credit for returning this September in the first place.

When Kendrick left his July 31 start against St. Louis with a shoulder injury after one inning, I figured the worst. Here was a pitcher in the middle of a disastrous season (4-12 with a  6.43 ERA at that point) who just got injured with two months remaining on a terrible team heading nowhere quickly and focused mainly on auditioning younger, cheaper players.

It would’ve been easy for Kendrick to fade away into the night, stay on the disabled list the last two months, rehab his shoulder slowly, and sign somewhere else over the winter, seeking a clean slate.

That’s probably what should’ve happened.

But against my expectations and also probably common sense, the Colorado Rockies eschewed that plan, brought Kendrick back just four weeks later, and… now they have a (small sample size!) decent pitcher. (???)

In his last three starts — the three since he’s been back from the shoulder injury — Kendrick is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA (14 IP, 13 H, 6 R 6 ER, 6 BB, 10 K). Those aren’t world-beating numbers, but it’s also an improvement from before.

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Does all this mean Kyle Kendrick should get another shot in Denver next year? Of course not. Does it absolve Jeff Bridich for bringing Kendrick to Colorado in the first place? No, because that was a dumb move that wasn’t ever designed to (a) help the Colorado Rockies win, or (b) help them get younger and develop prospects.

But it does — or, it should — serve to make you respect Kyle Kendrick a little bit more. It would’ve been easy for a struggling veteran on a terrible team to mail it in, hang out in the trainer’s room and rehab the season away while collecting paychecks and calling is agent about getting as far away from Colorado as possible on his next Major League contract. Players do that all the time. Kyle Kendrick didn’t.

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