A lights out performance from Kyle Kendrick, a two-run triple from Darin Ruf, a spectacular late-inning catch by centerfielder John Mayberry to save some runs, and a big strike out from Jeremy Horst to help the Phillies win a game with the NL East on the line. That’s exactly how you drew it up when you looked ahead to this first game against Washington in the final series of the season, isn’t it?
Probably not. But that’s how things went down tonight at Nationals Park in the Phillies 2-0 victory. Sure, the Nats won the division because the Braves lost. But they didn’t do it by beating us, damn it! With everything else in this 2012 season a lost cause, at least we’ll still have that.
Au Revoir, KK
With his start tonight, Kyle Kendrick put a lid on his 2012 campaign. It was an up and down season for Kendrick. He recorded two scoreless streaks of twenty-plus innings and posted an ERA under three in two separate months (May and August); he also struggled mightily down the stretch when the team needed him most (6.59 ERA since September 15), and posted an ERA near seven in both April and June. With the extension of Cole Hamels, and the subsequent departure of Joe Blanton, Kendrick figures to be the lead dog for the Phillies fifth spot in the rotation next season. It’s no secret that KK wants to pitch as a starter. He made a strong statement about the matter in tonight’s final act.
– Over seven shutout innings, Kendrick was brilliant. He recorded just four strikeouts, but got a ton of groundball outs and walked just one batter. He was able to bear down in tough spots, and did the things he had to do to keep the Nats from scoring. It was a brilliant finale for Kendrick, and helped to ensure the Nats wouldn’t clinch the division by beating the Phillies.
Obligatory Ruf Pun
– Darin Ruf has really been something. I know it’s a small sample size, and he’s a 26-year old that has never played above Double-A before his recent call up. But you can’t take away what he has done so far in the Bigs. And I’d rather see him do well during this short span of games, at least leaving open the possibility that he truly is a diamond in the rough. So far, he’s hit .333 with a .938 OPS in 29 PAs. He’s homered once and posted a .376 wOBA. He’s also posted an unsustainable .421 BABIP. Still, there’s been a lot of good there. He started and ended the scoring tonight with a two-run triple, another first for the right-hander. Along with Kendrick, he helped to spoil the Nats festivities.
– Just two games to go in this forgotten season. B.J. Rosenberg has been rumored to be the first one out of the door for the Phils in a bullpen game tomorrow night, but nothing has been confirmed. Cy Young contender Gio Gonzalez pitches for the Nats.