The Philadelphia Phillies' pitching staff includes established stars like former World Series MVP Cole Hamels and Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, but arguably the team's most consistent starter has never won more than 11 games in his career.
The Phillies' starting rotation has posted a 4.16 ERA as Hamels (1-6, 4.61 ERA) has gotten off to a slow start along with Halladay (2-4, 8.65), who had arthroscopic shoulder surgery this week and isn't expected to throw again for nearly two months.
Though Lee pitched seven solid innings and lowered his ERA to 2.83 as the Phillies (20-22) beat the Reds 5-3 on Friday, it's been Kendrick (4-1, 2.47) who has shined the most.
Kendrick has posted a 1.84 ERA in seven outings since losing his first start of the season, highlighted by a three-hit shutout over the New York Mets on April 26. The right-hander has allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings in each of his last two starts, beating San Francisco 6-2 on May 7 before Philadelphia's 4-2, 10-inning win over Arizona on Sunday.
The last time the Phillies lost when Kendrick started was April 16, when he allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings before Jay Bruce's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gave Cincinnati a 1-0 victory.
Kendrick has a 1.37 ERA in his last three starts versus the Reds but no victories to show for it, getting three runs of support over 19 2-3 innings.
Philadelphia, which was outscored 16-4 during a three-game sweep in Cincinnati from April 15-17, had enough offense in a 5-3 win Friday as Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run homer to help end the Reds' six-game winning streak.
Rollins, batting .118 (2 for 17) over his last five versus Cincinnati, hit only the third home run in the last six games for the Phillies as they've manufactured runs in other ways during their hot stretch.
''When you talk about playing small ball, you have to have the talent,'' manager Charlie Manuel said.
Bruce and Joey Votto homered Friday for the Reds (25-17), who lost for just the third time in 13 games. They'll send Bronson Arroyo to the mound Saturday as he seeks his third straight victory over the Phillies.
Arroyo (3-4, 3.76) scattered five hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings of a 5-1 win over Milwaukee on Sunday, ending a three-start losing streak during which he posted a 5.50 ERA.
''I didn't have a whole lot of stuff,'' said Arroyo, who was feeling ill during his last outing. ''I was grinding from the first inning on. I knew I was getting away with pitches that I normally wouldn't. Luckily, they were beating them into the ground.''
The right-hander had not won since giving up two runs in eight innings of a 4-2 win over Philadelphia on April 15. Arroyo had the same stat line to beat the Phillies 3-2 on Aug. 22 in his previous start against them, ending a six-start regular-season skid versus Philadelphia.