As any Phillies fan would tell you, I have been saying Kyle Kendrick is terrible for four years now. I guess I need to defend why he is terrible, and see if adding a cutter this off-season makes him less terrible (short answer, NO).
Kyle Kendrick is a 25-year old, who pitched brilliantly in the second half of the 2007 season (15 out of 20 starts were quality starts), and had a 3.87 ERA. Optimistic Phillies fans thought he was going to be a fixture in the rotation for years to come, but then a few major issues started to show up: 1) He doesn't strike any one out (3.95 K/9, which is the lowest of any starter the Mets have faced this year/lowest I've seen on any player of looked at), 2) He can't get lefties out (lefties have hit .327 and slugged .540+ against him over his career).
Kendrick relies on 90 mph fastball/sinker that is effective if it's in the lower half of the zone, but he gets into trouble when he leaves the ball up. He throws an 81-83 mph below-average change-up, and got rid of his slider this off-season in favor of a cutter, which he throws 86-87 mph. He throws either his fastball or cutter close to 90% of the time. When he is effective, he is a ground-ball pitcher.
He showed signs of brilliance shutting out the Braves two starts ago, but then reverted back to normal Kyle Kendrick, as he allowed five runs in five innings versus the Diamondbacks last time out. For the season, he has pitched 18 2/3 innings in 4 starts, and has 9 walks and 9 strikeouts, with a 7.71 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. He is holding a starting spot until Joe Blanton returns.
Jon Niese opposes Kendrick, and Niese is looking to work deep into a game for the first time this year (longest outing was 6 innings), as well as his first win. He has thrown 11 scoreless innings, but has allowed 21 base runners during those innings. "Playing in Traffic" as Jerry Manuel likes to say. For the scouting report on Niese, click here: Niese