Well, whatever knowledge Jamie Moyer imparted upon young Kyle Kendrick on Sunday afternoon, I am certainly glad he took it to heart. In the longest and strongest outing of his short major league career, Kendrick went 8 full innings and 113 pitches to shut out the Oakland A’s, giving up only 4 hits and striking out 4 batters. Chris Coste did a great job guiding him through it and added 2 hits and 2 RBI to the offense as well, which was a boost sorely needed from the catcher position as Carlos Ruiz has not been producing.
Charlie Manuel’s line-up looked like he threw darts at names hung on a wall, but it sort of worked. They are still not without issues. Ryan Howard’s insistence on swinging for the fences, regardless of circumstance or strike count, continues to be a major detriment to this offense. I almost hate to say this, but he is just not acting like a “team” player right now and I do not even think he recognizes this. Your swing with no strikes or 1 strike on you should look different than it does with 2 strikes on you, especially with runners in scoring position. Once you get to 2 strikes, your job then becomes, more than anything else, make contact, move the runner, get on base! Be Productive! But when you watch Ryan and some of these other guys up there, there is no difference between strikes 0-2. And they are swinging like a fastball is coming every time, without even looking. I understand the guessing game, but you can’t play that every time and certainly not in crucial game situations, and expect to come away with wins. It doesn’t work and I think the Phillies have proven that this past week. Now, could someone please bang it onto their heads?
Chase Utley knows this and came back with a vengeance last night! 4 hits and only one home run short of the cycle…wow! Pat Burrell did his part with one hit and a sac fly; Pedro Feliz, looking very comfy in his hometown area, nailed down 2 hits, an RBI and was robbed of a near-base hit towards the end. On the flip side, Eric Bruntlett
looked like he was waiting for his bat to grow arms, grab the ball and toss it over the centerfield wall for him. Poor thing. But I will say this; he did an admirable job playing defense at first base. It was like a breath of fresh air watching him trot over to make a few outs on his own, rather than cringe at the thought of Ryan Howard throwing the ball away in an awkward attempt to make what should be a simple toss to the pitcher who would be covering first base on ground ball plays near the bag. Incidentally, Ryan went 0-5 as the DH. Jimmy Rollins, still looking very uneasy at the plate, had just one hit; Shane Victorino had a very nice drag bunt for a hit, drew a walk and scored a run using his speed; Jayson Werth, going hitless, still contributed with 2 walks and a stolen base.
In all, the win is a HUGE boost for this team and hopefully a spring board towards fixing a lot of very obvious and very correctable mistakes. Can’t wait to see which darts Manuel throws at the line-up today… Go Phillies!