Æthelkyle the Unready: Pirates 5, Phillies 4

Dotsa one spicy meat-a-ball! Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Consider this metaphor from the annals of English history: A young king, not-quite-ready for primetime, plugged in as a replacement and never wholly embraced by his kingdom, who could not trust that he could fend off raids from visiting Pirates, yet for some strange reason had incredible comeback ability and staying power. It's a thought.

Kyle Kendrick, a.k.a. Æthelkyle the Unready, started on a hot sunny day in South Philadelphia and went thusly: Single. Walk. Flyout to right. RBI single (1-0). 3-run home run to somebody even the Brewers didn't want (4-0). Solo HR to the Pirates version of Dom Brown (5-0).

Some grudging credit where it's due: The Phillies mounted a throat-clearing kind of comeback, but could not dislodge the persistently anchored speck of loser dust embedded in the back of their constricted throats. Backup catcher Eric Kratz hit a two-run home run to center in the second inning to get the Phillies off the mat. Placido Polanco reached on a fielder's choice in the sixth for a smallish ball run to get to 5-3. Hunter Pence hit a solo home run in the eighth (his first since June 2) to get it to 5-4. Kendrick, for his own part, shut the Pirates out for the other six innings he pitched, so that you might applaud him coming off the mound with one middle finger raised. Northeast extension refugees and bullpenners du jour Brian Sanches and Jeremy Horst held the Pirates scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings.

At this point, however, I regret to supply you the dreaded List of the Unclutch:

- Chase Utley (in the seventh: no on, 1 out, but he's supposed to be magic)
- Shane Victorino (in the seventh: 2 on, 2 out. In the ninth: Rollins on second, one out)
- Jim Thome (in the eighth: 2 on, 1 out). Damn you, Scott Franzke, for making me believe he swatted that first pitch out (it was foul)
- Carlos Ruiz (in the eighth: 2 on, 2 out)
- Hunter Pence (in the ninth: Rollins on third, 2 out)

As I tap away on the keyboard, the Nats are losing to the Rockies mid-way through the game in Colorado, so it may not sting so much after all. Ehh.

The Phillies journey south to Miami for their first look at the big Bagel Slicer with its psychedelic tiki homer totem for a Debby Downer battle to get out of the NL East cellar.

I hope the air conditioning breaks to uncover the powerful stank.

Hey, Ryan Howard is DH'ing at Lakewood. So there's that.

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