The list of tasks on the Phils to-do list is short but daunting: get the hitters hitting and the bullpen getting some people out. Right now they’re not real close on either front.
The Phils scored three runs of fewer for the third straight game last night and the fourth time in five games. Given how badly the bullpen is pitching they’re going to need a lot more than three runs if they want to win a game. Brad Lidge got lit up so dramatically last night it was hard to come away from the game with much besides that on your mind.
Kyle Kendrick and Jair Jurrjens battled in a splendid pitcher’s duel through eight innings. Lidge started the ninth inning down 1-0 and the Braves put up seven runs in the frame, the big blast coming on a Brian McCann grand slam.
The Phillies have now lost five of their last six and each of the five losses has featured a blowup by a different guy in the pen — Seanez, Condrey, Madson, Romero and now Lidge. Durbin is the only guy in the pen to remain unscathed unless you count Eaton as a reliever. Eaton apparently has settled into a new role as team mascot in the roster spot where you’d be looking for a seventh reliever (he has thrown 6 1/3 innings since July 2).
The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, falling 8-2 to drop to 54-49 on the season. They have lost three in a row.
Kyle Kendrick got the start and gave the Phils their second straight great start. He went six innings, allowing a run on seven hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.
He threw a 1-2-3 first.
Mark Kotsay singled with one out in the second. Jeff Francoeur followed with a ground ball to third and Kotsay was forced at second for the second out. Kendrick walked Kelly Johnson on four pitches to put men on first and second. Omar Infante was next and hit a rocket of a line drive back up the middle and off Kendrick. It knocked Kendrick’s glove off and Kendrick picked the glove up and looked in it, but the ball had rolled behind him. It loaded the bases for pitcher Jair Jurrjens and Kendrick got him on a ground ball to second to end the frame.
Kendrick set the Braves down in order in the third.
Brian McCann led off the fourth and blasted a 1-0 pitch out to center to put Atlanta up 1-0. Kotsay grounded to first and Jenkins made a nice diving play coming in on a soft liner by Francoeur for the second out. Johnson singled again before Infante grounded to short.
Gregor Blanco doubled to right with one out in the fifth. Yunel Escobar was next and Kendrick hit him with a 1-2 pitch to put men on first and second. Mark Teixeira hit a ground ball to first and Howard fed Kendrick covering for the second out and the runners moved to second and third. Kendrick walked the lefty McCann to load the bases and got the lefty Kotsay to fly to left to end the frame.
McCann is really good, but I hate putting another man on base for a lefty given how hard they hit Kendrick.
Francoeur singled to start the sixth. Kendrick got Johnson and Infante on fly balls before Jurrjens singled to right, moving Francoeur to second. Blanco flew to Burrell on a nice play in foul territory to leave both men stranded.
Romero started the seventh down 1-0 coming off a rough outing against the Mets on Thursday. He struck out Escobar and Teixeira before McCann walked and stole second. Kotsay grounded to first for the third out.
Durbin threw a 1-2-3 eighth to drop his ERA to 1.75.
Lidge started the ninth down 1-0. Switch-hitter Greg Norton hit for Jurrjens to lead off the inning and blasted a double to the base of the wall in right-center. Blanco was next and bunted to third but beat out Dobbs’ throw for a single. With men on first and third the Phils brought the infield in, but Lidge walked Escobar to load the bases. Teixeira was next and he singled into left. Escobar scored and it was 2-0 with the bases still loaded. McCann hit a 1-2 pitch out to right for a grand slam. 6-0. Condrey entered the game and got Kotsay on a pop to Rollins in shallow left field before Kotsay doubled past Burrell in left. Johnson hit one off the wall in center for a double. Francoeur scored and it was 7-0. Infante singled into left and Johnson went to third. Norton grounded to first for the second out and Johnson scored to make it 8-0 with Infante at second. Condrey walked Blanco before Escobar grounded to second for the third out.
The pen went three innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and two walks. Lidge and Condrey were both terrible. Romero threw 23 pitches appearing for the second straight day. Lidge 18, Condrey 16.
The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Feliz was scratched from the lineup with tightness in the lower back, so Dobbs starts against the righty. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.
Victorino walked with one out in the first. With Utley at the plate he took off for second and McCann’s throw hit him and bounced away, allowing Victorino to go to third. Utley struck out and Howard flew to center.
No joy for Utley with a man on third and one out. Victorino stole second and wound up on third as the count went 1-1.
Dobbs singled with two outs in the second. Ruiz struck out behind him.
1-2-3 third and a 1-2-3 fourth.
With the Phils down 1-0, Jenkins led off the fifth with a single. Dobbs was next and hit into a double-play. Ruiz grounded to third.
Kendrick was due to lead off the sixth having thrown 94 pitches and down 1-0. Taguchi hit for him and struck out. Rollins grounded to third before Victorino singled and stole second. Utley struck out again.
They went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Dobbs lined to third on a nice play by Infante for the first out in the eighth. Ruiz hit it hard, too, but Teixeira caught his ball for the second out. Werth hit for Durbin with the righty Jurrjens still on the mound and smashed a 3-1 pitch back through the middle and off the pitcher’s body. Jurrjens jumped on it quickly and threw to first to get Werth to end the inning. Nice play.
Down 8-0 in the ninth, Utley singled with two outs and Howard followed with a home run to left. 8-2. Burrell flew to right to end the game.
Rollins was 0-for-4.
Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases.
Utley 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Howard 1-for-4 with his 30th home run.
Burrell 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.11) faces lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (3-9, 4.95) this afternoon. Reyes allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings his last time out, Sunday against the Nationals. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last four starts, but opponents are hitting .287 against him for the year. He has a 7.14 ERA in nine starts in Atlanta and a 2.72 ERA in six starts away from Atlanta. Hamels has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. The Phils have scored 12 runs in those games combined.