Will Kendrick's ouster fix Phillies?

July, 20, 2010
7/20/10
2:27
PM ET
Hey, somebody had to take the fall
Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, a day after blowing a lead to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kendrick (5-4) surrendered seven runs in five innings, coughing up a 4-2 lead as the Phillies lost for the fourth time in five games.

--snip--

In his place, the Phillies have called up righthander Andrew Carpenter.

Carpenter, 25, was 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts for Lehigh Valley this season. For his major league career, he is 1-0 with a 9.45 ERA in four games (1 start) for the Phillies between the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Carpenter didn't crack Baseball America's list of Phillies prospects last winter, but John Sickels did write about Carpenter in his book, and you gotta love the love:
Drew Carpenter doesn't have terrific stuff ... although Carpenter looks fat and has had trouble with conditioning ... Most scouts see Carpenter as little more than a Quadruple-A guy ... He has a strong fly ball tendency that won't play well in smaller parks or home run palaces ...

Of course I left out the nice things John said about Carpenter. But the take-home is that Carpenter is a) a marginal prospect who b) probably shouldn't be set loose anywhere near Citizens Bank Park, which is only one of the two or three home-run-friendliest palaces in the National League.

Maybe he won't be. Not for long, anyway. Lefty J.A. Happ has been rehabbing in Lehigh Valley. And while he hasn't pitched well down there -- 15 walks in 19 innings -- he figures to be fast-tracked to Philadelphia shortly after showing any real signs of regaining his command.

Does all of this really matter, though? Kendrick, Carpenter, Happ ... I like Happ and he's probably the best of the three if he's healthy. But we're talking about No. 5 starters here. And the Phillies' problem isn't that they've got three guys for one spot. It's that even after ejecting Kendrick (4.82 ERA) from the rotation, they've still got Jamie Moyer (4.88) and Joe Blanton (6.21) in there. Kendrick was probably the right choice because of his strikeout rate. But with the exception of Roy Halladay, everybody in the rotation has simply given up too many home runs.

I know it's a tough place to pitch. But if the Phillies are going to get back into this thing, at least one more starting pitcher will have to keep the ball in the park.

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