Yesterday I mentioned that Chan Ho Park lowered his walk rate last year compared to his career numbers while pitching mostly in relief for LA. That’s a good sign, because overall relief pitchers tend to walk more hitters than starting pitcher.

Here’s how many walks per nine innings NL starters and relievers have issued over the past five seasons, along with the numbers for the Phillies:

bbper9.jpg

As you can see, the blue lines for the NL walk rates are pretty stable, with the relievers consistently walking more hitters than the starters. The lines for the Phillies flail about a little more. Phillies starters actually walked batters at a higher rate than their relievers in 2004 — that season the Phils relievers were outstanding at preventing walks, they had the third best rate in the NL, while the starting pitchers were closer to the league average.

Finally, the tremendous success of the 2008 bullpen wasn’t built on preventing walks. The ’08 pen actually walked batters at a rate slightly higher than the league average. They did manage to reduce the walk rate significantly from 2007, however.

Kyle Kendrick. Kyle Kendrick did not have a good day yesterday. He got bombed for the second straight outing as the Phils lost to the Braves 12-10. The Phillies are 4-7 in spring training.

Coming off a weak start on Friday where he was charged with four runs in 2 2/3 innings, Kendrick went three innings yesterday and allowed eight runs on ten hits and a walk. Over his last two starts he’s allowed 12 earned runs on 15 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. That’s a 19.06 ERA and a 2.82 ratio.

Yesterday Clint Sammons hit two home runs off of him, a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the fourth. Kendrick started the fourth down 4-1 and failed to retire any of the four batters he faced in the inning before being pulled.

Kendrick is likely to get three more starts in spring training. But if he ever was in the driver seat for the fifth starter job he’s knocked himself way, way out of it and into a deep hole. To have a chance now he’s going to have to pitch a whole lot better than he has been and he’s also going to need Happ and Park, especially Park, to pitch worse.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, with Eyre as the sole lefty in the pen, unless the Phillies add another left-handed reliever before the start of the season I think Happ goes to the pen. That would make Park the fifth starter and open another (Park’s) spot in the bullpen. Gary Majewski, Dave Borkowski and Mike Koplove look to me to be the prime contenders for the extra spot in the pen if one opened. All three pitchers in the group have pitched well, but Koplove is the favorite in my eyes if one them makes the team. Majewski and Borkowski both pitched yesterday. Majewski was charged with two runs on three hits in an inning (only one of the runs was earned) to put his ERA at 1.29. Borkowski allowed a hit in a scoreless eighth to keep his official spring ERA at 0.00 — he’s allowed two hits in 3 2/3 innings this spring without walking a batter. He also threw a perfect inning against Team Canada last Wednesday, which doesn’t count towards his official stats.

Koplove, meanwhile, did not pitch yesterday but has tossed three innings without allowing a run or a hit. He has walked one.

Offensively, Mayberry homered again for the Phillies. He hit a solo shot in the fourth off of Jo-Jo Reyes and finished the day 2-for-3. Donald had another fantastic day as well, going 3-for-4 to raise his spring average to .379. Giles 0-for-2 with a walk. Cairo was 1-for-2 with a solo homer in the ninth.

Team USA lost to Venezuela yesterday, 5-3. Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk and Victorino 1-for-2. It’s on to round two for the US team. They will play Puerto Rico on Saturday. Venezuela plays the Netherlands, also on Saturday.

Mexico beat Australia 16-1. Harman went 0-for-2. Drew Naylor got one out and was charged with three runs on two hits and a walk. Rodrigo Lopez pitched for Mexico in relief. He threw a perfect 1 1/3 innings, striking out two. Australia was eliminated with the loss. Harman went 3-for-9 with three singles and a walk in their three games. Naylor’s only action came against Mexico. Mexico plays Cuba today to determine the winner of Pool B, but both teams will advance to the second round and play either Japan (today’s winner) or Korea (today’s loser).

Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 5-0 to win Pool D. Romero did not pitch.

Manuel talks about the possibility of keeping a veteran like Stairs or Cairo and letting Donald and Mayberry start the year in the minors in this article.

Feliz, Lidge and Durbin all played in an intrasquad game yesterday. The linked article also says that Manuel thinks Utley will play in a game next week.

The Phillies play Tampa Bay this afternoon. Happ is expected to pitch.