If there is one team out there that pitcher Kyle Kendrick should be able to handle, you would probably pick the Nationals. However, in the first inning tonight it did not look good. Kendrick gave up a run and loaded the bases. But after chatting with pitching coach, Rich Dubee, Kendrick calmed down and got out of the jam.
Kendrick has been the big unknown all year long; as in, no one knows what he might do in any given start. He has given up no less than 4 runs in each of his last 4 starts while pitching no more than 6 innings in any of those game. But tonight, he handled the Nats and allowed only 2 runs over 6 inning.
The offense got Kendrick a descent lead with some homers and a few other timely hits. Both Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez had 3-hit nights and they each collected an RBI. Shane Victorino had 2 hits and a walk in the leadoff spot. Valdez, filling in for the still lame Jimmy Rollins, tripped going around the bases in the 3rd inning and looked like he was hurt. Luckily, he shook it off and kept playing. But with all the injuries this year, that was a scary moment.
Also in the 3rd, Ryan Howard broke some more Phillies records. With a 2-run homer, Howard became the first Phillie ever to record 5 straight 30 home run, 100 RBI seasons. Chuck Klein had done it 4 straight seasons. Howard’s 252nd career homer also put him into third place all-time for home runs by a Phillie. He passed Pat Burrell who had 251 homers.
In the 7th, there was a bit of a counting mix-up involving the Nats lead-off hitter, Danny Espinosa. After he watched 2 strikes go by and swung and missed at the 3rd pitch, Espinosa hung around, waiting for another pitch. From the Phillies dugout, Roy Oswalt held up 3 fingers for him, hoping he would get a clue. Instead, Espinosa stood there and proceeded to argue the strike count with the umpire. Poor kid; maybe he took counting lessons on Sesame Street with the Mets alumni? :
Later in the 8th, Ryan Madson came in to pitch with a 5-2 lead and got himself into big trouble. After a fly ball out, he walked the next 2 batters and gave up a single to load the bases with one out. A 3-run lead for the Phillies these days is not a sure thing by any means. But Madson found where he had hidden his fastball location and got the next two outs.
Brad Lidge came in for the 9th and recorded his 23rd save of the year and did so with only 8 pitches. Not to be outdone by Howard’s accomplishments, Lidge moved past Tug McGraw on the Phillies all-time saves list with 95.
Tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm, the Phillies will try to sweep the Nats with Joe Blanton on the mound. I shall return with photos and hopefully, a win :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Kyle Kendrick did not fare so well in Hollywoodland last night as he got beat up by the Dodgers in 3 1/3 innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 9 hits. Manny Ramirez,
as anticipated, did major damage, picking up 2 RBI’s on a double in the 3rd off of Kendrick. The rest of the line-up followed suit as Kendrick was unable to stop the bleeding. And as adorable as I find Manny, I am afraid that J-Roll Smurf is going to have to perform some of his voodoo magic again and STOP Manny from beating up on my Phillies! This is just unacceptable. Maybe Manny should spend the entire game in the bathroom, and not just the 9th inning? I am all for that idea…
Despite the early pounding by the Dodgers, the Phillies offense did battle back and came within 2 runs, losing 8-6 by the end. They had 2 men on with 2 outs in the 9th for Ryan Howard who meekly grounded out to second to end the game. It was a valiant attempt at a comeback, but they fell just short. Howard did manage to reach the 100 mark in RBI’s for the season though. He is only the second player in Phillies history to reach 100 RBI’s with at least 30 homers in three straight seasons. Chuck Klein did it also: 1930-1932.
So, good news, bad news I guess. Bad they lost the game…good the Marlins & Mets also lost, so no ground lost in the standings. Another positive is that Wes Walrond had a good outing on the mound, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Perhaps a sign that he may wind up being useful in the pen after all? He does have a wicked scary breaking ball that seems to really fool hitters. Let’s hope he can be of some use. Another positive note was that the offense never gave up, even after being down by as many as six runs in this game.
Cole Hamels will try to bounce back tonight after missing out on his 10th win, yet again on Thursday. Another late one – 10:10pm EST; get out the toothpicks and prop open your eyes J Go Phillies!