On Kyle Kendrick's Impressive Streakiness

On Kyle Kendrick's Impressive Streakiness

Kyle Kendrick has taken a lot of heat in this town. And plenty of times he's deserved it. But for those who love to rip KK after he gets bashed around by the Braves, you've got to give him his props when he puts together one of those crazy-weird hot streaks.

Or maybe they're not so weird. As you're likely aware, Kendrick hasn't allowed a run in his two most recent starts, including 8.0 real solid innings of work in Sunday's win for the series split in Milwaukee. His current 15-inning scoreless streak is actually his second best such streak of this season. He put together 22-straight scoreless innings spanning all of July.

So what's been making Kendrick so streaky? Crashburn Alley's Bill Baer does a real nice job this morning digging into the numbers. The quick and dirty: Kendrick's been getting people to strikeout at a much higher clip in 2012 and he's doing it in part by keeping hitters more off balance by using his chang eup more frequently.

Crashburn writes:

Why has Kendrick, with the career 12 percent strikeout rate and 4.84
xFIP, shown flashes of brilliance so far this year? The most obvious
answer is that Kendrick vastly improved his ability to miss bats.
Entering the season, Kendrick’s K-rate was just over 11 percent and
peaked at 13.4 percent in 2009, a 26.1-inning season. This year,
Kendrick has struck out 17 percent of the batters he’s faced. Since
Kendrick will likely finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 total
batters faced, that comes out to about 35 extra outs, relative to his
career average, that don’t rely on luck or defenders converting a batted
ball into an out.

Baer digs into the wOBAs and the xFIPs even further for an interesting read, or if funny quips are more of your thing, you can check out Charlie's line on Kendrick after yesterday's win.

“Kyle did good, man,” Manuel said. “He got Braun out. He should get a medal for that.”

That's not to say Kendrick is suddenly going to become one of the Phillies' aces, but he's certainly become a serviceable fifth starter, especially when he's grooving, and he's not nearly as bad as some people make him out to be at times. You have to give him some credit for dealing with the yo-yo'ing back and forth between starter and reliever. Hopefully he can continue to settle into the rotation with continued success.

>>Kendrick goes eight scoreless in Phils' win [CSN]
>>Kyle Kendrick's flashes of greatness [Crashburn Alley]

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.