|Phillies rookie Kyle Kendrick ready for pressure start in Game 2|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2007 14:56|
The Philadelphia Phillies rookie was only 4-7 with a 3.21 ERA when he was promoted from Reading in June as an emergency starter for Freddy Garcia. With Garcia finished for the season because of injury and Kendrick throwing solid games in his first few big league starts, the Phillies kept him up for good.
Now, after the Phillies lost 4-2 to Colorado in the opener of their best-of-five NL division series, they'll turn to the winningest rookie pitcher in the league (10-4) to try and even the series.
Kendrick said he felt no pressure for his first playoff start.
``I'll just go out there and pitch,'' he said. ``I think we'll come back harder tomorrow and hopefully come out of here tied.''
Kendrick was knocked out of his last outing against Colorado on Sept. 12 when he was hit on the knee by Garrett Atkins' line drive. Kendrick crumpled to the grass in pain and gave a temporary scare to the Phillies. He left the game, but didn't miss a start.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins expects Kendrick to have another solid performance.
``We've had confidence in him all year long,'' Rollins said. ``There's no reason not to be confident going into tomorrow's game.''
CHANGE OF PLANS?: Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella is considering starting right-hander Jason Marquis in Game 4 of the NL division series against Arizona.
``There's a possibility,'' Piniella said before the series opener Wednesday night. ``I'm keeping the door open.''
On Tuesday, Piniella said he planned to pitch Game 1 starter Carlos Zambrano on short rest in Game 4. But if Marquis starts on Sunday, Zambrano would be able to pitch on regular rest if the best-of-five series goes to a fifth game Tuesday.
It seems unlikely that Piniella will use Marquis out of the bullpen. In his lone relief appearance this year, against Cincinnati on Sept. 30, Marquis gave up four runs and four hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Marquis went 12-9 with a 4.60 ERA this season, pitching 191 2-3 innings. The Cubs were 20-13 in his starts.
Left-hander Ted Lilly will start Game 2 for the Cubs, with left-hander Rich Hill going in Game 3.
ASK NOT WHAT THE NATION CAN DO FOR YOU: Broadcaster and former Boston second baseman Jerry Remy beat a handful of ``regular fans'' in a landslide in voting for ``President of Red Sox Nation.''
Remy received 39,120 votes from the more than 70,000 that came in by Internet, text messaging and postcard over a four-day period that ended Tuesday.
Remy, who also played for the Angels during his 10-year career, threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Wednesday night's opener of Boston's first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Angels. After lobbing the ball to backup catcher Doug Mirabelli, Remy went over to the front row and shook hands with team chairman Tom Werner.
Members of the team's fan club, ``Red Sox Nation,'' were able to nominate candidates, who were winnowed down by a committee and then put up for a vote. Last week, the leading candidates held a debate moderated by Tim Russert.
In second place, with 13,669 votes, was ``Regular Rob'' Crawford, a singer who wrote and performed the tune, ``I'm A Member of Red Sox Nation'' as part of his campaign. Jared Carrabis, who wore a Red Sox T-shirt for four straight years, finished third.
Fourth-place finisher Cheryl Boyd is the great-great niece of John Dooley, a founder of the ``Royal Rooters,'' Boston's first baseball fan club. In fifth was Cindy Brown, the head of the Duck Tours that carried the Red Sox down the streets of Boston and into the Charles River for their 2004 victory parade.
VOICING IT: Bob Sheppard, the Yankees' public-address announcer since 1951, could miss the team's postseason home opener Sunday night.
Sheppard wasn't at the final homestand of the season because of laryngitis, and as of Wednesday it wasn't clear whether ``The Voice of God'' will recover by the weekend. If Sheppard isn't back, longtime backup Jim Hall will be behind the mike.
Sheppard doesn't like to give his age, but a former Yankees official confirmed last year that Sheppard was born on Oct. 12, 1910.
TEAM PLAYER: Lost in the excitement of Colorado's 13-inning win Monday night over San Diego to reach the postseason was the fact that Matt Holliday led the NL in hitting (.340) and RBIs (137).
He didn't dwell on the achievements too much considering he was a bit groggy after taking a headfirst dive into the dirt when he scored the winning run.
``I haven't really thought much about it,'' Holliday said. ``We've pretty much had our baseball lives on the line, especially Monday. It's great, but we have a lot of business left to take care of. At the end of the season I'll have plenty of time to reflect on anything else.''
Holliday homered in Game 1 of the playoffs off Philadelphia's Cole Hamels.
``I think it's an exciting time for us and for all of our players, our organization and our city,'' Holliday said. ``We're just trying to enjoy it.''
SARGE SAYS: No one in Philadelphia calls broadcaster Gary Matthews anything but ``Sarge.'' In California, he goes by a different name: Dad.
Matthews has a couple of rooting interests in the postseason. He will be on the air for pregame and postgame radio shows in Philadelphia while his son's team, the Los Angeles Angels, is in the AL playoffs.
Gary Matthews Jr. will miss Los Angeles' first-round series against Boston, however, because of an injured left knee.
A possible World Series matchup between the teams has the elder Matthews excited to see his son play against the team he calls games for.
``Oh man, that would be awesome,'' Matthews said. ``You almost have to pull for the team you work for and hope that he has an MVP-type of World Series.''
Matthews said he has fond memories of his son tagging along with him to the ballpark. The family got their first taste of the postseason together in 1984 when Matthews played for the NL East champion Cubs.
``He was there in '84. He knows all about it,'' Matthews said. ``He knows that look when you're winning.''