Behind a solid all around pitching effort, the Phillies offense came up short tonight, as the Phils dropped their second straight game, 4-2. This loss came at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
KENDRICK ON SPEED DIAL
– A few hours before tonight’s game, Kyle Kendrick was expecting an uneventful night that could possibly include pitching an inning or two out of the bullpen. But when scheduled-starter Joe Blanton was sent to LA in a trade, Kendrick was thrust into the fire, forced to make an emergency start with no one else available. So Kendrick, 20-inning scoreless streak and all, did what he could to give his team some innings. Unfortunately, he was ill-prepared.
– After a scoreless first inning in which Kendrick looked very solid, he unraveled. In four innings work, he allowed two earned runs and three runs total. After a rocky fourth inning, he was yanked.
– It wasn’t a great effort by Kendrick, but it also wasn’t an easy position to be in. His inability to go a few more innings would put the Phils in a tough position, with Charlie Manuel asking his thin bullpen to record 15 outs.
THE MIDDLE RELIEVERS IMPRESS
– Impressively, the bullpen was extremely effective tonight. A few young guys in Jeremy Horst and B.J. Rosenberg took the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The pair combined for four strikeouts, while allowing one walks and no hits. Rosenberg was particularly impressive in his two innings, as he struck out three and walked none.
– The eighth inning would belong to Antonio Bastardo. Though inconsistent this season, he’d set the D-Backs down 1-2-3 to run the bullpen’s hitless streak to four innings.
LINDBLOM BURNED BY THE LONG BALL
– New guy Josh Lindblom would be summoned for the ninth inning. One of the notes on Lindblom indicates he is a fly ball pitcher. For his career, 46.3% of balls put in play off Lindblom have been in the air. This is something that could burn him pitching in shallow Citizens Bank Park. It’s not a good recipe for preventing home runs. Tonight we saw an example of that when Jason Kubel sent one into the seats off Lindblom. That ball was a laser beam, though, and probably would’ve been out of Yellowstone. After the home run, Lindblom settled in nicely, and the run allowed would prove to not be costly.
THE OFFENSE FALTERS
– Since their eight run outburst on Tuesday night in Washington, scoring runs has been a struggle for the Phillies. Maybe it’s the loss of Victorino and Pence or maybe it’s the absence of Carlos Ruiz, who has been banged up, but this team hasn’t been hitting the last few games. Tonight would be no different.
– In the fourth inning, Chase Utley went deep to end the Phillies 16 inning scoreless streak. The offense would be sparse from that moment on, however, as the Phils scratched across just one more run. That run came on a sacrifice fly from Nate Schierholtz, who now has driven in a run in both of his games with the Phillies.
– Considering the pitching situation tonight, the offense needed to do better. To hold the other team to just four runs when you get four innings from your starter is a fantastic all around effort by the pitching staff, and the bats didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Put another loss in the books.