Call it a reversal of last night.
The offense picked it up, getting off the ground early and helping Kyle Kendrick pace his way to his 10th win of the season as the Phillies shut out the Marlins, 5-0. The win put the Phillies back up by 2.5 games over the Marlins, and kept the Mets (losers against the Padres) three games back.
Let’s start with Kendrick. He walked five and gave up four hits in six innings, so you’d think the Fish would’ve punched a couple runs across the plate. Nope. The Kid kept his poise and was clutch with runners in scoring position. Want to know his stats with runners in scoring position?
RISP (144 situations): .238 AVG / .310 OBP / .349 SLG / 73 OPS+
RISP + 2 outs (73 situations): .190 AVG / .301 OBP / .206 SLG / 40 OPS+
These numbers are pretty much in line with his 2007 numbers. Among the league, Kendrick is tied for fourth in baseball in innings pitched with RISP + 2 outs (17.1), and hitters’ .508 OPS in those situations compares most favorably with Brandon Webb (.472) and Roy Halladay (.461).
So Kendrick got into trouble but bailed himself out every time. After his six, Chad “Dim the Lights” Durbin pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Madson finished it off with a quick ninth. Hopefully the two frames won’t cost Durbin any work tomorrow, but at least JC Romero and Brad Lidge stayed out of work.
Ryan Howard had a nice game, swatting his 32nd home run in the third inning to give the Phils a 4-0 lead. He came close to homering twice more, doubling once and flying out the other time. His average, once below .200, is now at a semi-respectable (for him) .244. Chase Utley added an RBI double in the first inning, and in the second inning, small ball produced two more. An Eric Bruntlett single (he went 2-for-3, breaking a tough 2-for-22 slump) brought home Geoff Jenkins, and a Kendrick squibber brought home Chris Coste, who doubled.
The Phils added one more in the sixth via a Mike Cervenak RBI single. It was Cervenak’s first Major League hit (1-for-3) and RBI. A big congratulations to the 31-year-old who spent most of four years toiling away in Norwich, Connecticut, a place I know very well.
Top to bottom, this was a good win. Nice hitting, a homer by the big man, clutch pitching and another shutdown effort by the ‘pen. The rubber game is set up.
Associated Press photo