The Phillies try to make it six wins in seven games at Pittsburgh's PNC Park tonight behind second-year starter Kyle Kendrick. Consistency has been elusive for the young pitcher in 2008: he's made it past five innings just once in four starts and has more walks (11) than strikeouts (8) thus far. Kendrick has won his only career decision against the Pirates, with a seven-inning, one-run effort last July.
Pittsburgh starter Matt Morris, meanwhile, has been consistent, but not in a way that's particularly helpful for his employers: the one-time 22 game winner is 0-3 with a 9.15 ERA this season, and has a 6.86 ERA in 15 starts since joining the Pirates midway through last season. It sounds like the stuff simply isn't there anymore for a right-hander who was once among the toughest draws in the game. Morris does have strong career numbers against the Phillies, though, with a 5-3 record and 3.57 ERA in 12 career appearances (11 starts).
It's likely but not certain that slumping first baseman Ryan Howard will return to the lineup tonight. The Phils' slugger is 0 for his last 11 with seven strikeouts in his last four games. In nine lifetime at-bats against Morris, Howard has two hits, including a homer.