It appears that the Phillies bats have cut their vacation short. Perhaps they ran out of those froofy umbrella drinks and decided to leave the island that they were apparently hiding on. Whatever the case, it is nice to see them again.
No one was happier than Ryan Howard who had not hit a home run the entire month of August. Finally last night, he blasted a 3-run shot to left center. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider also hit a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning to give the team an early lead, which is another thing they have not had much of lately. Most starters had at least one hit in the game except for Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, although Victorino walked twice.
With a 6-4 lead going into the 7th inning, the Phillies sent Carlos Ruiz in to pinch hit for Schneider and Joe Torre countered with pitcher Jonathan Broxton. Ruiz and Broxton have quite a history; on August 12th this year, the Phillies rallied back against the Dodgers from a 9-2 deficit and a Ruiz double off Broxton capped the victory at 10-9. Last night, Ruiz smacked Broxton around again, this time for a 2-run single to give the Phillies a nice 8-4 cushion.
As for starter Kyle Kendrick, he ended the month of August with yet another unimpressive outing. In 6 starts for the month, Kendrick allowed 21 earned runs, pitching at an ERA of 5.79. Last night’s start consisted of 4 earned runs over only 5 innings.
The bullpen pitched the final 4 innings and held the Dodgers down. Chad Durbin, JC Romero, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge capped off the 8-4 victory. Even former Phillie Rod Barajas, who is hitting over .500 against the Phillies since 2008, was held to just one hit.
This afternoon at 3:10pm is the final game of the series and Roy Oswalt will face Clayton Kershaw. If the Phillies can hit Kershaw tonight, we may be able to announce the official return of the Phillies offense. If not, then last night will be chalked up to bad pitching by the Dodgers. The Phillies are 3 games behind the Braves going into September. Now is the time to put their collective feet on the gas pedal and not let up.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography