Kyle Kendrick is going to need to find his happy place after today’s outing against the Nationals. Having done well in Spring Training, Kendrick’s first official start of 2010 was a big disappointment. Lasting only 4 innings, Kendrick allowed 5 runs on 9 hits against a team that sometimes resembles a minor league team. But in the first inning, the Nats looked like they were taking batting practice off the young pitcher.
A sinker ball pitcher, Kendrick left way too many pitches up in the zone and lacked control. He had a great opportunity here with the injury to Joe Blanton to show he could start in the majors again, but after today, it does not look good. Granted, it is only one start, but first impressions can be lasting ones.
The Phillies batters got him off the hook for the loss when they tied the game up in the 6th on a Jimmy Rollins sac fly. But in the 7th, the Nats took the lead again as a result of Nelson Figueroa walking the first batter of the inning who eventually scored. In his first appearance back with the Phillies, Figueroa did fairly well, but the 3 walks he gave up created problems.
Chase Utley led off the 9th with a double and Jayson Werth sacrificed him over to third, giving the Phillies hope. But then Raul Ibanez, who is hitting a meager .091 so far this year, hit a short pop-up to make the second out. It was not nearly far enough to score Utley. Shane Victorino followed suit with a short pop-up of his own to end the game, with the Phillies losing 5-6.
The story of the game was men left on base; the Phils left 11 of them stranded. The at-bats were not as patient as the first two games and the concentration seemed lacking. It was a bad flashback to last year where this teams’ biggest issue was the inability to play small ball and manufacture runs.
The shame of it is that great offensive performances were overshadowed by the lack of timely hitting. Werth hit 3 doubles in the game and the top 5 batters in the order had at least 2 hits each. The bottom of the line-up did not perform and many of the hits came at the wrong times.
But starting the year off with 2 out of 3 is not so bad. So Phillies fans, just for tonight, go find your happy place and hang there until we get to Houston tomorrow night.
Kendrick photo by Jenn