Kyle Kendrick has been more than a pleasant surprise so far this season for the Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies' starting pitching rotation has been similar to that of a revolving door with squeaky hinges.
Injuries and inconsistency have riddled the Phillies' staff while Kyle Kendrick has performed as Philadelphia's ace in the hole.
The 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is to be played on July 16 at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. That's 64 days away for those keeping track at home.
That is an ample amount of time for Phillies starting pitchers to rack up some wins and keep the team in contention.
According to Matt Gelb at Philly.com, the Phillies don't need a fifth starter until May 21. That fifth starter could be anyone so it seemed appropriate to exclude that spot in this piece rather than speculate.
Following are predictions of the win totals for all four current and healthy Phillies starting pitchers by the Midsummer Classic.
Each pitcher should get about 12 more starts before the All-Star break, give or take a couple starts.
Stats: 8 starts, 1-5, 43 strikeouts, 4.18 ERA
While Cole Hamels' ERA continues to steadily decrease, his win total remains just one.
Not much of a total at all, really.
Hamels started off the year miserable. In his first two games at Atlanta and then home against Kansas City, Hamels threw a combined 10.2 innings while giving up 13 runs. He didn't pick up his first victory until April 28 in New York against the Mets.
A quality start has been registered by Hamels in six of his eight starts and the lefty is tied with Cliff Lee for the lead in team strikeouts with 43. Six quality starts should equal more than one win.
The key word there is "should."
Saying the Phillies' offense has not provided for Hamels would be an immense understatement.
According to ESPN.com's sabermetric pitching stats, Hamels is tied for the MLB lead in tough losses at three with a tough loss being defined as one in which a pitcher collects a quality start.
Bad luck will eventually run out for Hamels, however. Look for his ERA to keep declining and his win total to increase as a result.
Prediction: Eight wins by the all-star break.
Stats: 8 starts, 4-1, 39 strikeouts, 2.47 ERA
At this time last year, Kyle Kendrick was 0-3 with a 7.32 ERA as a starter and a reliever.
What a difference a year makes.
Kendrick has been the biggest surprise this season for the Phillies. To call it a pleasant surprise would downgrade the true nature of his resurgence.
He sits tied with Cliff Lee atop the Phillies' leaderboard in wins with four apiece.
Kendrick's success story this season has stemmed mainly from his consistency and efficiency.
Wiping away his first start, Kendrick hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any of his outings. Amid that streak, he didn't allow a run in two of those games, including a complete-game shutout of the helpless New York Mets on April 26.
Working quick doesn't mean anything if a pitcher is getting shelled.
Fortunately for Kendrick and the Phillies, it is the opposite for the right-hander as Kendrick is making his pitches count.
He is tied for 11th in the league in the least amount of pitches thrown per inning at 14.6.
He has also been helped out by the Phillies' offense at times this season as Philadelphia has scored an average of 4.88 runs each time Kendrick takes the hill.
That number ties Kendrick for the 27th-best run support in the MLB.
While it would seem impossible for Kendrick to continue his impressive pace, as long as he keeps pitching efficiently deep into games and receiving good enough run support, there is no reason he can't keep producing consistent quality starts.
Prediction: Nine wins by the all-star break.
Stats: 8 starts, 4-2, 43 strikeouts, 2.86 ERA
Cliff Lee has been the workhorse for the Phillies' staff this season, compiling 56.2 innings for third in the majors and second in the National League.
It is safe to say that if the season ended today and the Phillies needed to win just one game, Lee would be the unanimous choice to start that game.
No disrespect to Kyle Kendrick, but Lee has proven that he can pitch in big games.
With that being said, there is still a lot of season to be played.
Just like Cole Hamels, Lee has received minimal run support this season or else he could undoubtedly have a couple of more wins.
The Phillies have averaged a mere 3.13 runs when Lee starts, leaving him at 91st in the MLB in that department.
Lee has won his last two starts and looks to be on a roll. The first of those two victories came in San Francisco on May 6 while his most recent came on May 11, when he threw seven scoreless innings in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.
Lee has been streaky this season, but will always be there to put an end to a losing streak if necessary. Lee should heat up with the weather and start tallying more victories if the offense can help him out a little more frequently.
Prediction: Ten wins by the All-Star break.
Stats: 4 starts, 2-0, 14 strikeouts, 3.63 ERA
After being called up by the Phillies on April 22, Jonathan Pettibone has done a formidable job of filling a void left in the rotation following injuries.
Consistency is the key for any young pitcher looking to make a name for himself and, more importantly, to stay in the majors.
Pettibone has fit the bill in his first four MLB starts as the right-hander hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his appearances.
For now, it seems the job is his to lose.
Pettibone has only pitched past the sixth inning once this season, but has pitched at least five innings in all four starts. That is all the Phillies can ask of the 22-year-old.
While Pettibone won't continue his 50 percent winning rate, he should have a solid rookie win total come mid-July if he keeps pitching consistently and begins to delve deeper into games.
Prediction: Six wins by the All-Star break.