When starting Rockies pitcher Kyle Kendrick was inked to a one year deal in February, management hoped that he would provide stability and leadership in 2015 to a team that used 15 different starting pitchers last season.
Kendrick was a regular in the Philadelphia Phillies’ starting rotation from 2007-2014. While there, he compiled a 74-68 career record to go along with a career ERA of 4.42.
The road ahead of Kendrick will not likely be easy, given a tough NL West division to compete with and, more importantly, Coors Field itself. Many pitchers are wary of coming to Colorado, due to low air density in the mile high city of Denver. Baseballs travel further off the bat, and thus make Coors Field very hitter-friendly.
Kendrick doesn’t seem intimidated.
“I’m not a power pitcher. I’m gonna pitch to contact,” Kendrick said. “Guys are gonna get on [base], and I’m just gonna keep battling, that’s my thing.”
Rockies manager Walt Weiss is also confident in Kendrick’s abilities.
“We know what we have here. We got a guy [Kendrick] that works like a surgeon out there,” Weiss said. “He’s an intelligent pitcher that can execute a game plan, and that’s what we expect to see from him.”
With pitcher Jorge de la Rosa likely headed to the Disabled List with a groin injury to start the season, Kendrick’s role will be amplified.
He will likely be the only battle-tested pitcher in the starting rotation, that is, the only pitcher with multiple years of Major League pitching experience. This is good for the Rockies, since it can make a world of difference for younger players to have a reliable teammate to learn from.
“I go about just watching these guys. Everything’s so professional,” said pitcher Jon Gray, who has never played in a Major League regular season game. “We know that we have to be that way, too.”
So far this Spring, Kendrick is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in five games pitched. He earned a no-decision on Friday vs. the Padres, going 4⅓ innings while giving up three runs, and will likely have one more start before the regular season begins. Kendrick has been named the Rockies’ Opening Day starter and will pitch on the road against the Brewers on April 6.
Contact CU Independent Rockies Beat Writer Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.