Comeback Falls Short as Kendrick Falls Apart in 12th – Phillies Nation
2011 Game Recaps

Comeback Falls Short as Kendrick Falls Apart in 12th

One thing that the Phillies have taught us is never to count them out.

So when Carlos Ruiz walked to begin the ninth, the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park sensed it. And by the time Ruiz had come around to score, it was true.

Ruiz touched home on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Pete Orr, tying the game at three as Brewers closer John Axford crumbled in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies had a chance to win it, but Jimmy Rollins left two runners aboard with a pop up to shortstop.

Not good. Because in the top of the 12th, after a bunch of zeroes were put on the board by both sides, Kyle Kendrick would come on and absolutely unravel from the get-go. Eight batters would step to the plate, seven of them by way of an unofficial at-bat. Walk, E1, sac fly, HBP, walk, sac fly, intentional walk, single. All told, the Brewers would score three times to bust out to a 6-3 lead. Kendrick threw 27 pitches, just nine of them for strikes. Kendrick also threw away a chance at a victory.

The Phillies would put two runners on in the bottom of the 12th, only to leave them stranded. On the night, the Phillies finished 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. So Kendrick may have been the scapegoat, but the offense as a whole was certainly to blame as well.

The only real encouraging sign besides the energizing ninth inning was Joe Blanton. When the Phillies traded for Blanton in the summer of 2008, they envisioned a guy who would eat innings and keep it close enough for the offense to do work. For the most part, they’ve gotten that.

But the start of 2011 has not been kind to Blanton. Going into Monday night’s game with the Brewers, his ERA sat above 10, his WHIP 1.65. After Monday night’s start, however, there is finally something positive for Blanton to lean on.

Against a potent Milwaukee lineup, Blanton reached seven innings – his longest outing of the season – while striking out four and walking one. On his 98th pitch of the night, he got Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez to chase a changeup in the dirt for strike three. That was the difference for Blanton on this night compared to his previous two starts; he kept the ball down in the zone and minimized damage.

Unfortunately, what has become commonplace recently for a Phils team that started the season on a tear, he got little help from the offense.

The Phillies struck early with one run in the first inning on a Ryan Howard opposite-field single scoring Placido Polanco. They would not do so again until the seventh when they tallied one more on an interesting play at the plate.

With runners at first and third, Shane Victorino bounced a soft grounder to first baseman Prince Fielder, who threw home in an attempt to nail Wilson Valdez. Fielder’s throw sailed high, allowing Valdez to slide under the tag by catcher Jonathan Lucroy. If the throw were on target, Valdez would have been a dead duck. Instead, the Phillies would tie the game at two.

Blanton’s lone rough inning came in the third when Milwaukee struck for two runs on three hits. The few mistakes Blanton made were pitches left up in the zone, something he talked about overcoming following an awful start against the Mets on April 6 and another sub-par showing on April 12. He was certainly more in control against the Brewers.

“I felt a little better out of the stretch tonight,” said Blanton, after he’d struggled in that aspect of his game previously.

Ryan Madson was not as crisp. On in relief in the eighth inning, Ryan Braun would make his presence felt immediately with a rocket single to left field. Fielder followed by smashing a double down the left field line, making it second and third with no outs for the normally reliable Madson. Braun would cross home plate two batters later on a Yuniesky Betancourt ground out, giving his team a 3-2 lead.

JC Romero replaced Madson in the ninth inning but left with a right calf strain as he reached out for a ground ball up the middle. Romero said after the game that he’ll be on the shelf at least a week, a DL stint is likely. He’ll have an MRI on Tuesdya.

As was mentioned in the Gameday preview, Shaun Marcum is a pitcher to keep an eye on this year and he lived up to those expectations. Marcum fanned five in six innings, allowing just one run on five hits. The Phillies bats were never able to get in the flow against the Brewers righty beyond the first inning in which he tossed 24 pitches.


Tuesday: Randy Wolf vs. Roy Halladay

Click to comment


  1. Terry

    April 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Watching the game from home, I could hear that the crowd was feeling it when Chooch stepped up. Once he crossed to plate to tie it up, it looked like it was going to be another epic finish, but this offense is lacking the “it” factor that’s gotten it through so many big spots before. Kyle Kendrick should have never gotten the chance to blow it; this one is on the top of the order for not closing the door when it should have.

    • Pat Gallen

      April 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Someone had to pitch and it was down to Kendrick and Baez. Kendrick hadn’t thrown in a while and needed some work, so those two factors combined made him the guy here. He just doesn’t have it anymore – might be time for him to go.

      • Terry

        April 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

        Not disagreeing with using him in that spot at all, what I’m saying is that it should have never gotten to that point. Victorino can’t come up there with one out and a very fast Pete Orr on second and strike out. The least he could have done there was put the bat on the ball and move Orr over.

    • Man in the Woods

      April 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

      Don’t ever say epic. It’s just douchey. Why is everything “epic” anymore? This has seriously got to stop.

  2. Dropped Strike Three

    April 18, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    First “embarrassing” game of the season. Time to break out the 2010 stats that show Joe Blanton among the league leaders in run support. If you can’t win on 7 solid an 2 runs out of Blanton, then you might as well forfeit every 5th day because that’s pretty much as good as it’s gonna get.

    I’m still high on this offense, but some bad habits are creeping up on us pretty quickly!

  3. Brian Sr. of CO

    April 19, 2011 at 4:15 am

    I have never been very high on Kendrick. The few times he had done well had seem to come after being threated with going back to the minors, or actually being sent down. He comes back and wants to “prove I (he) belongs”. Then he comes in and seems to un-ravel. Better hope Oswalt can make his next start, because I would think chances are good that Kendrick takes Oswalts SP spot if Oswalt cant make the scheduled start. Its a shame Madson gave up a run too, but Madson only gave up 1 run, and is usually always reliable in the set-up man position. Can’t win them all. Just have to come back the next game and win it.

  4. bfo_33

    April 19, 2011 at 5:22 am

    On the plus side, Blanton looked very good, kept the ball down, as did most of the pen (except for the odd bad night from Madson, and the KK fiasco). On the down side, with the exception of Polanco, our offense can’t hit guys who change speeds. 3 BB of Marcum, who lived on a change up that rarely gets the strike zone. Get well soon Chase (valdez has been filling in well, but I can’t help but think that Utley would have had a field day last night). Not going to win them all, but we let one get away last night.

  5. Chuck

    April 19, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I had a meeting til 9:30. Came home and watched from the beginning on DVR but dosed off late in the game. Glad I missed it. But of what I did see Blanton looked pretty good. Some of his stuff was downright filthy and he did get a few calls from the home plate ump. There are going to be games like this so we have to find the positives. Tonight Doc gets to be the stopper again.

  6. Pat Gallen

    April 19, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Blanton did look good, was nice to see him come back after 2 real crappers. But again, all of his mistakes were pitches left up in the zone – a bunch of sinkers that didn’t sink. Maybe the warm air of summer does play a vital role in how he pitches? Never really thought about it, but I have seen people talk about that before. Interesting.

  7. jeff y

    April 19, 2011 at 6:34 am

    KK was putrid. Phils have no power in their bats. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

  8. Bart Shart

    April 19, 2011 at 7:10 am

    There is a power outage in Philly. Kyle Kendrick needs more work and should be demoted to AAA Lehigh Valley. Blanton looked sharp for a change. He REALLY needs to keep pitches DOWN in the strike zone. Ibanez needs a day off and Mayberry needs to start a game. Please make sure Charlie Manuel gets this message. Tell him it is from Shart. He’ll know what to do with it.

    • Pat Gallen

      April 19, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Mayberry needs a start and Raul needs a day to rest, yes. Agree wholeheartedly. Raul’s bat has really slowed, he’s showing no signs of power. I think it’s time to see if Mayberry can add some juice.

  9. JakeyJ

    April 19, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Disappointed the offense did not come through to back up Joe in that one.The win was there to be had.

  10. yrsoprano

    April 19, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Now Joe knows how Cole Hamels feels with no run support after pitching well. Game reminded me so much of last year with the team not being able to figure out and adjust to the opposing pitcher. Sunday was worse when they didn’t stay patient enough to take advantage of a very hit-able Anibal Sanchez.

  11. bfo_33

    April 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I’d also like to see Mayberry in the line up, but last night wasn’t the right night. I would have bet the house (thankfully didn’t) that Raul was going to have a big night last night against a junkball righty (I don’t really like the term, but “crafty veteran” isn’t any better). Mayberry would have pulled an oblique overswinging.

    Facing Wolf, tonight would be a very good night to rest Ibanez, play Mayberry. One of the few former Phils I can’t bring myself to really root against (hope for a Phils win, Wolf ND). Also looking for a big night tonight from Jimmy back on the right side.

  12. Pat Gallen

    April 19, 2011 at 9:25 am

    It’s disheartening, but you’re right @ysoprano – this has the makings of a big time slump written all over it. It’s the exact same start as last season.

  13. betasigmadeltashag

    April 19, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I have to agree that dispite KK meltdown, it is a different mentality to come out of the pen and he has done it a lot , and not in the pressure of extra innings. I know most of you hate Baez but I think he could and should have been put out there in the situation. The offense is to blame for this loss, it is baseball and they do play 162 games and if you go through a surge of games were everyone is hitting and everytime there is people in scoring positions they get brought in. Then you go through games like the last 4 or 5 where no one can get a timly hit. In the end it will all equal out. I watch the games on DVR and see mostly good at bats, and some bad luck contact, like the line drive off the pitcher caught by the SS, which ended an inning, even if you figure that ball stays in the infield, you still looking at basesloaded with one out. Lets go out and get them tongiht with the Doctor on the mound

  14. VT Phan

    April 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

    This does not feel like the start of last season to me. A year ago April it felt the bats could do no wrong – powPowPOW! Then MayJune hit and SWISHSwishswish. A year ago I turned on every game amped to win in April, only to feel punched in the stomach in MayJune.

    This year the feeling is different. There’s more balance to the winning and losing. (Lose first game in the series, win the rest) The wins are far less grand, less POW, less drama.

    I’m crossing my fingers that we’re starting in a slumpish state and will heat up as the season progresses.

  15. TheDipsy

    April 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Kyle Kendrick is your perfect journeyman, bounce around, here to there, team to team, starter to pen, dude. The last guy on every staff. That said, don’t ask him to go out in the 12th inning and come up big for a win. What happened last night is more an indictment of the poor bullpen that the Phillies have than how bad Kendrick is or isn’t. RE: Mayberry. He has earned his spot starts so let him play. Asking a young kid to marinate on the bench and then asking him to go 2 for 4 in the 1 in 27 games that he does play isn’t fair. That – and If for no other reason it keeps me from having to see Ibanez throw beachballs in from LF to homeplate.

    The Dipsy

    • Lefty

      April 19, 2011 at 11:07 am

      Agree completely about the beach balls, they have been disturbing. Chooch has no idea where those throws are going to end up.

    • betasigmadeltashag

      April 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      Really Dispsy bad bull pen, the pen has been pretty good this year, you can not expect Madson to be perfect, even though he gave up a run last night he is still one of the best 8th inning guy, Jose did his job, Bastardo has been close to perfect, and JC was good last night unti he go hurt. And I know you hate Baez, but outside his last apperace he has been solid, Herndon has also so signs, when he is off he is way off but when on pretty effective guy. So other then KK who has never really come out of the pen how and who is bad in this pen.

  16. Dave

    April 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

    We knew what the weaknesses were going to be on this team…middle relief and offense. I hope you guys weren’t fooled by all the runs they scored in the first week. The Phillies lineup is very average. Jimmy Rollins was one of the worst leadoff hitters in baseball and is now proving to be one of the worst 3-hole hitters in baseball. As for Kendrick, he shouldn’t even be on the team!

  17. Lefty

    April 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I am, and have been a big proponent of Raul only playing in about 135-140 games this year.

    But I don’t think it is a good time to rest him today. Right now we need to sit Ben Fran IMO. He looks lost at the plate to me, clearly no longer locked in like the beginning of the season. In fact he is 4 for his last 29 – .138

    You could argue that Wolf is a lefty, but historically that has not meant much. Ibanez is 5-16 .313, with 3 doubles and one HR against him. Raul has had a one scheduled day off and one rain out day off in the last week. We should rest him when the schedule tightens up, Ben Fran needs to sit right now.

  18. TheDipsy

    April 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Disagree Lefty. I’d like the added defense and speed that Mayberry can provide in the outfield. Wolf is pitching so Raul can sit. And lets get Billy Wagner on the squad unless he is still Braves’ property.

    The Dipsy

    • Lefty

      April 19, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Dipsy Dipsy Dipsy,
      Fair enough on your opinion, you are probably right, they’ll most likely sit Raul. However, Ben truly does need a hard cold bench to sit on, and ponder what a strike zone looks like. He’s let so many good pitches go by in the last week that he could have crushed.
      Mayberry can provide his attributes in right field too.

      Billy Wagner? Do you buy re-treads for your cars too? How’s that Manny idea working out?

  19. TheDipsy

    April 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Yeah. That Manny thing definitely did not pan out. Wagner was good last year, though. Do you have any reason to believe he could not be effective out of the pen this year?

    The Dipsy

  20. Manny

    April 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Don’t bench Raul today. As Lefty said, he’s good against Wolf. Frisco should sit down. Let Mayberry start tonight… Bat Raul 5th. You can always bring in Francisco for Raul in the final innings and break up the two lefties in the row while improving defense…

  21. Lefty

    April 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Dipsy, He was good last year, and the year before. But here is why it won’t happen.

    The key paragraph-
    ” reached an agreement with union that if Wagner decided to come out of retirement he could only ‘unretire’ with the Braves in 2011.”

    Not to mention we already have a 39 year old closer.

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