Kyle Kendrick hasn’t been fantastic this season, far from it. But he is managing to survive despite the low strikeout rate and the inability to get lefties out. I theorized that the secret to his success had to do with preventing extra-base hits, so I thought I’d look into it.

Through 55 games the Phillies have used just five starting pitchers, which is quite a feat. They’re the only NL team that hasn’t used more than five starters. Through 55 games of the 2007 season the Phils had used seven starting pitchers (Myers, Hamels, Eaton, Moyer, Segovia, Garcia and Lieber). Each of the five starters has made 11 starts, and here’s how many runs, hits, walks, strikeouts and extra-base hits they have allowed this season per 100 batters they have faced:

 
Runs

Hits

Walks

Strikeouts

XBH
Myers 15.4 27.5 8.4 17.4 12.8
Hamels 9.5 19.6 7.2 21.2 7.5
Moyer 12.2 29.0 5.4 11.8 10.4
Eaton 13.0 24.5 9.6 12.6 7.7
Kendrick 14.4 26.6 6.8 10.3 9.1

So much for that. Compared to the other guys in the rotation for the Phils, Kendrick hasn’t actually allowed an unusually low number of extra-base hits. If anything it’s Eaton’s rate of allowing extra-base hits along with the low walk rate for Moyer that was the most surprising thing to me about those numbers.

Not only are Kendrick’s numbers in terms of preventing extra-base hits compared to the other guys in the Phillies’ rotation not extraordinary, but this season Kendrick is allowing extra-base hits at about the same rate that he did last year. Compared to 2007, Kendrick is allowing more hits (25.9 per hundred batters in ’07), more walks (5.0) and more runs (10.6), but just about the same number of extra-base hits (9.0).

The not-a-lot-of-extra-base-hits theory clearly is no good, but one thing that is true is the this season Kendrick has seen a higher percentage of the extra-base hits that he has allowed go for doubles (which is kinda like saying that he doesn’t allow a lot of home runs). Here’s what the five guys in the starting rotation have done this season in terms of the percentage of the extra-base hits they have allowed that have gone for doubles:

 
2B

XBH

% 2B
Myers 21 38 55.3
Hamels 15 23 65.2
Moyer 20 29 69.0
Eaton 12 20 60.0
Kendrick 18 24 75.0
       
All PHI 113 174 64.9

Brett Myers (2-6, 5.79) faces lefty Mark Hendrickson (7-2, 4.14) tonight as the Phillies play the first of three against the Marlins. Hendrickson hasn’t gotten an out in the sixth inning in any of his last four starts, throwing to a 5.12 ERA in those appearances. Righties are hitting .291 against him, lefties .191. You may have noticed from the XBH column above or a large number of other sources, but Myers is getting hammered this year. He hasn’t allowed a long ball in his last two starts, but opponents are hitting .311 against him for the season, righties .333. His five starts at home have been better than his five starts away. At home he’s 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA, away from Citizens Bank Park he’s 0-5 with a 7.15 ERA.