OK, Kyle Kendrick. OK.
No. He was not OK. It’s more of an OK as in, “OK, so that’s how it’s going to be.” Seriously though? What were y’all expecting? The dude had a mid-4 ERA in Triple-A last year and a 6 ERA in four Triple-A outings this season. So, as we saw, in the big leagues that gets you 6 runs in 4 innings, and that’s not acceptable.
Nothing he can do about it though. He’s just Kyle Kendrick. He’s not an MLB-caliber pitcher anymore. I don’t care what your spring training stats would say. Friggin Jake Fox led the Grapefruit League in homers like five years ago. Who? Exactly. OK.
OK. So now what? Now that the Red Sox somehow optioned Kendrick despite him having more service time than any MLB player I’ve ever seen get optioned in 14 years of watching the big leagues, the Red Sox need a starter for Monday: either Hector Velazquez or Brian Johnson.
Johnson has a spot on the 40-man roster and made a spot start for the Red Sox earlier this year, as you remember. He was shaky, but the Red Sox won. As far as AAA pitchers go, he’s essentially a replacement level MLBer. He throws well in Pawtucket. In his big league starts though, he just has to trust his stuff more, not nibble and not throw so many dang offspeeds.
He doesn’t throw that hard (honestly, he used to throw harder, so not sure what happened there), but he’s got a good curve, and he can pitch his way out of jams. Stats? 2.64 ERA, 26 K’s, 12 BB in 30.2 IP over five starts for the PawSox this season.
Velazquez, 28, ain’t on the 40-man roster. But really, how hard would it be to clear a spot for him on it when all you’d have to do is DFA Kyle Kendrick and send someone down/outright either Kyle Martin or Luis Ysla and send someone down/DFA Chase d’Arnaud. Anyhooo…
The guy has flat out pitched for the PawSox this year and pitched pretty darn well. At 90-92, he throws a little hawduh than Kyle. Oh, and his last three outings have been scoreless while walking three batters in 17.1 innings. Is he ace material? Far from it? But he’s an unknown, who is throwing better than Kendrick, which automatically makes him an upgrade. There’s a chance he’ll give them more than four innings and will allow less than six runs.
Outside of them there’s always… Nah. Honestly, those are their two choices. Henry Owens has walked 18 batters in 26.2 Triple-A innings this year. I don’t care what his ERA is (1.35). You know what his command would translate to in the big leagues? A beating.
It’s never ideal for a big league team to need to rely on depth starters when they’re hovering around .500. But they don’t have to take a beating every start until David Price comes back either.