Kyle Kendrick's last two starts have made for a career first, something the 28-year-old hadn't done as middling No. 4 or ambiguous starter-reliever tweener or anything until now.
He walked four batters in back to back starts.
That's the good news in his 0-2 mark and 7.36 ERA over the span. Had Kendrick been beat with the command that's made for his new normal, you'd have to start to seriously question its sustainability. His run of 2.62 ERA ball had spanned 17 starts back to last August, for about half a year.
That's impressive, but hardly conclusive.
Still, his emergence has been bigger than cultivating an out pitch, his changeup, or how that addition has made for a legit big league repertoire, stuff that can often have a shorter shelf life than even a dozen and a half starts. It's also been about developing physically, particularly in his core, something that's also added bite to his breaking stuff, making for a much more sustainable model.
Kendrick should improve. Question is, can he do it against the Red Sox tonight at Citizens Bank Park?
Command problems don't make for an easy fix against the Red Sox, who lead baseball in walks this month. Simply, Boston makes you throw strikes, and Kendrick's failed to do that of late. Where he'd walked only 10 and struck out 21 in 22 2/3 innings before May 18 vs. Cincy, Kendrick's issued freebies to eight in 11 frames with only three Ks since.
Kendrick's also 0-2 with a 12.90 ERA in two career starts against Boston, both at Citizens Bank Park, neither longer than five innings. Though KK hasn’t seen the Sox since 2010 in any capacity.