When the Colorado Rockies signed Kyle Kendrick this offseason, it was done in the hopes that he would be a rotation anchor who would make 30 starts and eat up lots and lots of innings. After throwing seven shutout innings in his first start of the year, everything was great! In the four starts since, it has been a house of horrors for Kendrick and the Rockies. Tonight was the toughest night yet for them in a disappointing 12-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Things were tough on Kendrick from the outset. In his first seven pitches of the game, he allowed singles to A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings, and Paul Goldschmidt and a triple to Mark Trumbo. Just like that, the Diamondbacks led, 3-0. What was already a bad inning would've been even worse if not for the nightly outstanding play from Nolan Arenado, who tagged Mark Trumbo out at third before throwing across the diamond for an inning-ending double play.
In the second inning, there was a very scary moment when Diamondbacks starter Archie Bradley was hit in the face by a 115 mph line drive off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez. Bradley was on the ground for several minutes being attended to by the training staff before eventually walking off the field under his own power. After a quick trip to the hospital, Bradley was able to return to the stadium and the initial prognosis on him is a positive one. Here's hoping that the promising rookie has a speedy recovery.
#Dbacks trainer Ken Crenshaw says Archie Bradley's initial prognosis is very positive with no signs of a concussion.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 29, 2015
Back to the game at hand, the Rockies were not in a mood to go down quietly as an RBI single from DJ LeMahieu in the second inning cut the lead to 3-1. In the fourth, an RBI double from Charlie Blackmon and an RBI single from Troy Tulowitzki tied the game up, 3-3. At that point, Kendrick had retired eight batters in a row and had thrown only 32 pitches through three innings. Maybe he was going to eat some innings after all! Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.
In the bottom of the fourth, a single from Trumbo followed by a long home run off the bat of David Peralta put the Diamondbacks back on top, 5-3. The next inning wasn't any better. After retiring Owings to start the fifth, Kendrick allowed a double to Goldschmidt, a home run to Trumbo, and a double to Peralta before mercifully being replaced by Christian Bergman. When all was said and done, Kendrick had allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits in just 4⅓ innings, raising his season ERA to an unsightly 8.36. His game score tonight was just 10, marking his third start of the season with a game score of 30 or less. That's more than he had all of last season. He didn't strike a batter out and was hit very hard all night, so we aren't talking about one of those nights where a bunch of worm burners just happened to find holes.
This isn't what the Rockies were looking for when they brought in Kendrick. In his last four starts, he is now 0-3 with an 11.14 ERA, 2.05 WHIP, 4.71 BB/9, and 5.14 K/9 while averaging just under 5⅓ innings per start. The Rockies don't need Kendrick to be great. What they do need is for him to provide serviceable innings that keep the team in the game and take some of the pressure off of the already overworked bullpen. Right now, he isn't doing either one and he just doesn't seem to have the stuff to consistently get major league hitters out. Hopefully this changes soon, or the Rockies may be forced to explore other options.
Once Kendrick was taken out of the game, Bergman was able to give the Rockies a much needed 2⅔ innings of relief before giving way to Jorge Rondon, who allowed three more runs on three hits in just one inning in his less-than-ideal first appearance of the season.
One positive to take from tonight was that the Rockies continued to hit well on the road. As a team, they banged out 13 hits, including three apiece from Blackmon and Justin Morneau. It has also been a blast to watch DJ LeMahieu in the early going, who had another hit tonight and is still leading the majors with a .406 batting average. We're still in the very early going, but consistent hitting like this on the road is bound to produce more than the meager 21 wins the team was able to get in 2014.
Tomorrow night, the Rockies will turn to Jordan Lyles as he squares off against Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter in the rubber game of the series. A win would be the club's third series win in four tries on the road and would continue what has been a very promising start to the season.