Philadelphia Phillies (11-6) at Arizona Diamondbacks (7-10)
Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 7.24) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 3.50)
Time: 4:10, Chase Field
Weather: Sunny, 87 (Retractable Roof Stadium)
TV: MYPHL 17
An outbreak of injuries hampering Phillies both old and new. An ace winning over the hearts of fans, as well as every game he pitches, and looking nearly unhittable in the process. Sounds a lot like last year, doesn’t it?
The plot from last August is again playing out in the early 2010 season. Of course, some things are different. Some of the cast (Juan Castro, Jose Contreras, Danys Baez) has changed. Oh, and the leading man is Roy Halladay. (Am I ever going to get used to writing that? I don’t think so.)
But Halladay and his 0.88 WHIP can go only every five days, meaning other players have to step up, especially when the core of the lineup falls into a slump, as it has for the past week. One of those guys is Kyle Kendrick, who in his last start pitched brilliantly against the Atlanta Braves, allowing only four runs in eight scoreless innings. Kendrick’s performance was especially encouraging because the Nationals had scored 11 runs on him in two starts that totaled only 5 2/3 innings.
Against the Braves, Kendrick looked like a completely different pitcher. He mixed his pitches effectively and—most important—kept the ball down in the zone. Unfortunately for him, Ryan Madson allowed a pair of two-out home runs in the ninth inning and Contreras gave up another in the 10th in a historic, are-you-bleeping-me loss. But the game was encouraging if only because it gave Kendrick a foundation to build on.
One thing to watch for in the coming games is when the Phillies lineup comes out of its recent doldrums. In the past few years, cold spells have almost invariably followed explosive stretches like the one to start the season, and then the hits start coming again and the wins start piling up. But considering that today’s bizarre starting lineup features three members of the 2005 Seattle Mariners (who finished 69-93), don’t count on the offensive tide to change this afternoon.
LINEUP: Gload, Dobbs, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Valdez, Ruiz, Kendrick
Your Gameday Beer– Artois Bock
Tonight we’ll try another bock, this time from Stella Artois. This strong Belgium lager is 6.2% alcohol by volume. The bock has all the components of a good dark beer, sweet flavors of molasses, caramel and toffee. Some might think there is too much sweetness. It goes well with bbq shrimp. – By Brian