Vince Lombarid once said "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else"
If that quote emobdies anybody more on the Philadelphia Phillies, it is ace Roy "Doc" Halladay. What makes Doc great is his willingness to go longer, work harder, and give more. His work ethic is what drives him to be the best. While the other 98% are preparing for holiday feasts and winter hyberation Doc is preparing for a new season. If most of the team arrives to the ballpark at 1 for a night game, Doc is there at 5 am running the steps. His drive to be the best is contagious to young, impressionable pitchers like Kyle Kendrick.
Enter Kyle Halladay, I mean Kyle Kendrick. Since Halladay's first spring training with the Phillies in 2010 Crazy K has been following Doc around like Andy Reid follows the smell of bacon, intensely.
“I’ve tried to get to know him a little bit, see what he’s doing, and be around him and pick his brain,” Kendrick said of his first camp with Halladay in 2010. “And why wouldn’t I? I’d be stupid not to.”
For any professional athlete their dream and their wish is to be great, to achieve excellence. Not only is it a great accomplishment to become a professional athlete, but you want to prove to people that you belong. Kendrick has been trying to prove that since his first stint with the big league club in 2007, posting a 10-4 record. From being left off the World Series roster in 2008, stints in the minors, to being delegated to the bullpen in 2010, he has seen his ups and downs. Being able to learn from the best is an asset that Kendrick is trying to cash in on.
Having an ace like Roy Halladay is not just invaluable to a team because of what he does on the field but also because of what he does off it. His determination, his drive, his leadership, his work ethic, his motivation. Doc has a tough time getting morning sprints and tosses in anymore without Kendrick tagging along.
Struggling through adversity and inconsistency is something that Doc can relate to. In 2001 the Jays sent Halladay all the way back to Single A to improve his arm angle. A move that molded him into the hard-working, determined, dominate pitcher that he is today. Without adversity there is no growth.
Crazy K, more known for his Brett Myers inspired prank trade to the Yomiuri Giants than a major league starter, has been trying for years to prove to the Phillies that he is starting pitcher worthy.
In 2012 he may phinally have done that. there were moments late in the season where it looked as if mentor and protege had swithced bodies. The 28-year old started the year off in all too familiar circumstances, in the pen. Grabbing some spot starts here and there, due to injuries to Doc, Vanimal, and Lee, Kendrick was nothing more than typically inconsistent. But on August 14 his game changed. Thanks to the trade of Big Joe Blanton, Kendrick was officialy thrust back into the roation with new life. Kendrick pitched 7 strong shutout innnings en route to a 1-0 victory over the Miami Fish. Only allowing 5 hits while striking out 6. He was 4-1 in August with a 2.95 era. Over the last month a half, Kendrick went 7-3 in ten starts, with a 2.43 ERA in 63 innings, where he held opposing hitters to a .596 OPS.
His greatly improved pitching against lefties, and his increased strikeout ratio proved that this hot streak is not just a flash in the pan. With the trade of Vance Worley in the off-season Kendrick is firmly supplanted in the 4th spot of the rotation. He is a ground ball pitcher who uses his bread and butter pitches effectively, his sinker and changeup.
Is KK the next Roy Halladay? Doubtful. But he may just be an under the radar arm that helps bring playoff baseball back to Philly.
Brotherly Love Nation