There may not have been any real competition for the fifth starter’s job when spring training stated, but there is now. Jamie Moyer is going to pitch better than he has or Kendrick is going to pitch worse — both those things are likely, but if neither of them happens I think it’s Kendrick that’s in the rotation to start the season. There’s no question that Kendrick has been better than Moyer in the past few weeks, but I thought it was worth a minute to make sure that Moyer has been better than Kendrick over the last couple of years. He has. Here’s what both have done for the Phillies over the past three seasons:

  IP ERA Ratio R/9
Moyer 557.7 4.53 1.38 4.74
Kendrick 303 4.66 1.46 4.96

You also have to consider the contributions that Moyer has given the Phillies in big games. The most notable of those in recent history was game three of the 2008 World Series, but there have been others. Kendrick’s biggest spot came in his start of game two of the NLDS against the Rockies in 2007 and he allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings.

Moyer has also pitched deeper into games in his starts than Kendrick has. Moyer has gone an average of about 5.92 innings per start of his 91 starts for the Phils in the last three years. Kendrick has gone an average of about 5.52 over his 52 starts.

It’s also not like Kendrick hasn’t gotten a chance. He has. He made 30 starts and 31 appearances in 2008 and was just about as awful as you can be if you’re not a big name closer who won the World Series the previous season, throwing 155 2/3 innings with a 5.49 ERA and a 1.61 ratio.

The Phillies beat the Pirates 5-1 yesterday. Roy Halladay provided still more fantastic starting pitching, allowing a run over five innings to raise his spring ERA to 0.90. David Herndon, Chad Durbin and Ehren Wassermann followed Halladay and combined to allow one single over four scoreless innings. Cody Ransom hit yet another home run. Howard, Werth and Ruiz all had two hits.

Jamie Moyer was hit hard in a B game yesterday, allowing five runs in three innings.

Polanco sprained his right knee in yesterday’s game. He says he might miss two or three days, which surely can’t help his efforts to get comfortable playing third.

Mike Zagurski threw two scoreless innings in a B game yesterday. I still would guess he’s an extreme long shot to start the team, even if Bastardo and Escalona continue to struggle.