Starting the year on a pitching staff containing Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Jonathan Papelbon, and Mike Adams at the start of the year, Kyle Kendrick is now the third-best pitcher on the team. In Survivor: Philadelphia, Herr Kendrick is doing well.
The San Diego Padres sent Jason Marquis out to duel on their behalf. Marquis, described by Larry Andersen as a "lefter" (at the plate), has bounced around Major League Baseball over the last 5 years, playing for nearly every team except the Phillies in that span. So of course, he was predestined to pitch like Matt Harvey tonight against a Phillies team that is sure to never score another run until 2021 at least, if you believe the worst elements of Phillies fans.
Digressing briefly, conduct a thought experiment for a few moments where you imagine what the result would be of crowd-sourcing the management of the Phillies by the baboons inhabiting the Philly.com message boards, whom I imagine as angry, red-assed simians flinging dung at one another in sexually frustrated alcoholic rages. Replace their beloved "Ruin Tomorrow" (Ruben Amaro, in their lingo) with...their, uh, collective...wisdom. It would be so funny it would almost be worth it. I can usually read about ten comments on any given article before I can feel the brain damage starting, forcing me to stop.
In any case, there was a game tonight. And first blood occurred in the second inning when the Padres strung together a single, a double, an RBI ground out and another single for the 2 runs. Domonic Brown went after a ball hit by Yasmani Grandal during that sequence and just missed it, allowing the double that put Kendrick in some hot water.
The Phillies did not lie down and die, though. They fought back.
Jimmy Rollins walked. He stole second and went to third on a single by Michael Young. Ryan Howard struck out swinging after taking a ball for strike two on a pretty bad call. Domonic Brown came to the plate, much to the chagrin of Franchise1234, who spake thusly earlier in the game:
"Does anyone think dom will be a good player or just an average like he is showing besides his one month of may
"I have been saying this for the last two weeks..he hits singles here and there now he won’t hit more then 25 hr this year..crazy how he can’t adjust to how he’s getting pitched to now
BOOM. Three run bomb and a Phillies lead. Yolacrary did yeoman's work on this prior to the homer:
Still, feel free to welcome Franchise1234 to the hivemind of Domonic Brown Apologists in your own special way. To be fair, I have written some pretty dumb things, and you don't have to look too hard to find them. Still, with all the abuse Brown has received over the last few years, it was nice that Fortune allowed a critic to be answered so clearly so promptly. Way to go, Dom.
In the fifth inning, the Phillies struck again. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley both singled, giving the Phillies first and third with nobody out when Rollins went first to third. Michael Young whiffed, and Ryan Howard walked. Up came Dom Brown with the bases loaded. He walked on four straight pitches, driving in his fourth run of the night with the walk. This brought John Mayberry to the plate and brought Brad Brach in to replace Marquis for the Padres. The fifth pitch to Mayberry was in the dirt, and squirted away from Grandal, allowing Utley to score and the other runners to move up. On the next pitch, Mayberry hit a hard liner to the outfield, allowing Howard to score on a sacrifice. Brown had to stay at second, and Ben Revere came to the plate with the Phillies up 6 - 2. Revere was walked after running the count full. Carlos Ruiz was next up, and he popped out to end the inning with the Phillies scoring 3 runs on just two hits and not one run scoring as the result of an RBI from a ball hit into play safely. Telling the tale of this game to Ruben Amaro, one might be tempted to note that the Phillies, to this point of the game with a 6 - 2 lead, had accumulated 6 walks. But whatever.
Meanwhile, Kendrick was cruising like a Republican Senator in an airport men's room. After hitting Carlos Quentin in the third, he retired the next 8 batters on one strikeout, one pop up, one fly ball, and 5 ground outs. His pitch count was a relatively economical 62 (44 for strikes) after five innings. Could he and the Phillies maintain the pace and avoid
too much any Bullpenning?
In the sixth, Carlos Quentin ended Kendrick's roll with a single, reaching the third time on the night. Kendrick found himself in some trouble when the next batter, Chase Headley, worked the count to 3 - 1, but Kendrick came back to get Headley looking on a call that Headley did not care for. A ground out and another K, looking, and Kendrick was out of the inning at just 78 pitches, reducing the exposure to the soft underbelly of the Phillies' bullpen.
The Phillies went in order in the seventh inning. Kendrick had some trouble again in the bottom half of the inning, giving up back-to-back singles after getting a ground out to start the inning. A strikeout (looking) of Logan Forsythe helped Kendrick edge closer to getting out of the inning, but after a visit from Rich Dubee, Kendrick faced Mark Kotsay. The count went full, and Kotsay belted it to center where Ben Revere ran it down for the last out allowing Kendrick and the Phillies to escape with another scoreless inning, but Kendrick, having chucked 97 pitches, was clearly starting to struggle.
The prospect of bullpenning loomed menacingly as the Phillies headed into the eighth with Kendrick due to be the third batter in the inning, but Kendrick remained in the game to hit. Other than a Carlos Ruiz single, the Phillies managed to mount no substantial threat. The Phillies entered the home half of the eighth with Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley to face Kendrick though Charlie Manuel was already warming JC Ramirez and Antonio Bastardo in case of any trouble.
Kendrick got the troublesome Quentin on a check-swing strikeout, to the chagrin of Padres fans and, honestly, to the chagrin of fans everywhere who like good calls. A flyball by Headley generated the second out, followed promptly by Kyle Banks with a pop out to Jimmy Rollins. Kyle Kendrick solved the eighth inning tonight by doing it himself, wrapping it up in 7 pitches and with a game total of 104. He was welcomed into the dugout and congratulated on a great night, his night over after those 8 innings, 7 hits, 0 walks, 6 strike outs, and 2 runs allowed. An excellent performance, filled with ground ball outs and resulting in a FIP of 1.600.
The Phillies did not score in the ninth, mustering only a walk and a steal by Chase Utley.
With the Padres having a win expectancy of 1.6%, Antonio Bastardo came into the game to face a right-handed batter, a lefty, and another right-hander. Not the way you draw it up, but the bullpen is apparently in "all hands" mode now. Bastardo promptly ran the count full before giving up a single to Grandal to lead things off. Jesus Guzman pinch-hit for the lefty, and hit a ball solidly to Ben Revere in center, but for an out. Jonathan Papelbon began to stir in the Phillies pen during this at bat. Pedro Ciriaco hit a ball past Brown in left and the Padres had second and third with one out and Chris Denorfia coming to the plate.
Rich Dubee made a social call on Bastardo at this juncture, presumably to stall for Papelbon to get loose. All the while, I stared into the darkness of the void. Bastardo, guided by the Hand of God, dealt a slider to Denorfia that caught him looking for the second out. To the plate strode Logan Forsythe, who was 0 - 4 with 3 strikeouts on the evening. The light at the end of the tunnel beckoned, or rather taunted. Surely Logan Forsythe could not jack one here, especially down 0 - 2 in the count. Surely that could not happen...and it didn't. Whew. Got him on a check swing to end it.
Fangraph of Kendrick the Stopper: