There’s a thin line between love and hate – and Kyle Kendrick has quickly found both extremes with Rockies fans. He’s probably not as good as his previous outing in Milwaukee, and definitely not as bad as his first outing in a Rockies uniform at Coors Field tonight. It doesn’t grade out as a disaster a la Mat Latos in Miami a few nights ago, lasting 2/3rds of an inning, but the damage was too great for even the Rockies offense to overcome in a 9-5 loss.
Dexter Fowler got the night off to a bad start, tripling from his leadoff spot and scoring on a Jorge Soler sac fly (who looks like he is swinging a Manny Sanguillen-autograph telephone pole). Dex was back in the 2nd with another triple, this time driving in Jason Hammel and Arismendy Alcantara. Joe Maddon can declare his pitcher-hitting-8th obsession as justified.
As the night progressed, the walks piled up for Kendrick – 5 in all – and he got progressively higher in the zone. The higher he left pitches, the farther they went. Chris Coghlan hit a ball in the 3rd with a swing that shouldn’t have produced a HR, but did. Mike Olt followed immediately with a more convincing opposite field blast, paying for it later in the game when Adam Ottavino clocked him on the wrist. (Not like Cubs hitters crowd the plate or anything, Kendrick also hit Anthony Rizzo.) Starlin Castro completed the solo homer barrage in the 5th.
Jason Hammel was serviceable in his return to Coors, containing his damage to a Nolan Arenado HR in the 2nd and a Justin Morneau bloop scoring Troy Tulowitzki in the 3rd. He had the right idea for pitching at Coors – zero walks.
In the carnage, there were a few positives:
– Kendrick gutted it out taking one for the team, lasting 5+ innings and saving the bullpen.
– A sparkling 3-6-1 double play, with Kendrick hustling to the bag, kept the 4th from getting out of hand.
– The bullpen of Friedrich, Betancourt, and Ottavino held up, despite Friedrich allowing his inherited runners to score.
– Charlie Blackmon, who has been either striking out or hitting the ball right at someone, finally doubled in the 9th.
And, there’s this:
You can just hear the pitter-patter of little feet as they jump off the bandwagon and run away. #Rockies
— Don Dingee (@DonnyDinger) April 12, 2015
Yes, I’m talking to anyone who was expecting 162-0, or who piled on with “this is the Kendrick I knew we were getting.” He’s allowed a bad outing, and Cubs bats had to wake up sooner or later. Walks tend to score at Coors. Kendrick has to find his way back down in the zone, he has the repertoire to succeed and is a veteran who can deal with adversity.
This was the first time a Rox starter was really tested this season, and it didn’t go as well as hoped. It’s only April 11.