Whatever the answer is there’s a good chance that Kendrick will be on the mound when it happens (in the interest of full disclosure, the Nats actually did beat the Phils as recently as April 8 — and yes, Kendrick started that game).
The Phillies keep scoring and scoring and scoring. The Nationals do, too, just not enough. Washington led last night’s game 3-0, 6-4 and 7-6, but each time the Phillies came storming back. Victorino and Utley combined to go 6-for-9 with three home runs and nine RBI in the game.
As amazing as the offense has been, it’s almost as hard to ignore how fantastic the bullpen has been. After Kendrick couldn’t make it out of the second inning last night, the pen, led by Nelson Figueroa and Durbin, held Washington to a run over 7 1/3 innings.
The Phillies are 7-1 on the season after beating the Nationals 14-7.
Kendrick got the start and went 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. After two bad starts in two times out, Kendrick has a 17.47 ERA.
Nyjer Morgan was the first batter of the game and Kendrick hit him with an 0-1 pitch. Willie Harris was next and Kendrick got him to hit into a double-play, Utley to Castro to Howard. Cristian Guzman followed with a single, though, and then Kendrick threw eight balls with his next nine pitches. Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham both walked, loading the bases for Adam Kennedy. Kennedy lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a bases clearing double and the Nats led 3-0. Ivan Rodriguez grounded to third to end the frame.
Four men reach in a row after two outs and nobody on.
Kendrick started the second with a 4-3 lead. Alberto Gonzalez got ahead 2-0 and doubled to left. The pitcher Craig Stammen tried to bunt him to third but couldn’t, bunting strike three foul for the first out. Morgan was next and he moved Gonzalez to third with a single to left. Morgan stole second before Kendrick walked Harris. When he did the bases were loaded again, this time with one out. Guzman singled into center, scoring Gonzalez and Morgan. 5-4 with the Nationals on top and men on first and second. Kendrick got Dunn on a pop up for the second out. Willingham was next and he got ahead 3-0 before hitting a ball down the left field line that a fan touched for a ground rule double. 6-4 with men on second and third and two outs. Figueroa came in to pitch to Kennedy and got him on a ground ball to first to leave both runners stranded.
Figueroa was back for the third with the Phils up 7-6. Rodriguez led off the inning with a single and stole second before Gonzalez singled to right, sending Rodriguez to third. The pitcher Jesse English bunted Gonzalez to second for the first out. Morgan was next and he grounded to first. Both runners moved up a base, with Rodriguez scoring to tie the game at 7-7. Figueroa struck out Harris to leave Gonzalez stranded at third.
Figueroa set the Nats down in order in the fourth.
He walked Kennedy to start the fifth. Rodriguez flew to center for the first out and Kennedy stole second with Gonzalez batting. Gonzalez grounded to third for the second out with Kennedy holding second. Pitcher Jason Marquis hit for the pitcher Jesse English and lined to short to leave Kennedy stranded.
Figueroa went 3 1/3 innings in the game, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. After two appearances in long relief he has a 3.38 ERA and a 1.31. Despite the fact that they wound up winning by seven runs, the game was tight early and the Phils needed Figueroa’s contribution last night.
Durbin started the sixth with a 9-7 lead. Morgan led off the inning with a single, but Durbin picked him off for the first out. Harris struck out for the second and Guzman flew to center.
Durbin was back to start the seventh with a 10-7 lead. Dunn led off with a double off the wall in right. New right fielder Francisco played it well and nearly threw Dunn out at second, but Castro couldn’t hold on to the ball as Dunn slid in to second. He may have been safe anyway. Willingham grounded to third for the first out with Dunn holding second. Kennedy dribbled back to the mound for the second out as Dunn held second. Rodriguez chopped a ball to third that Polanco fielded behind the bag near the line. He made a strong throw to get Rodriguez and end the inning.
Fantastic long throw by Polanco to end the frame.
Bastardo pitched the eighth with a 14-7 lead. He walked Gonzalez to start the inning. Roger Bernadina flew to right for the first out, but Morgan followed him and walked as well. It put men on first and second with one down. Righty Ian Desmond hit for lefty Willie Harris and Bastardo struck him out for the second out. Guzman flew to right to leave the runners stranded.
Bastardo hasn’t been charged with a run on the season, allowing a hit and three walks over 2 2/3 innings.
Herndon set the Nats down 1-2-3 in the ninth. He has a 0.00 ERA for the season, too, having allowing five hits over 4 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out three.
Long day for the pen. Figueroa threw 54 pitches and Durbin 24. Bastardo threw 19 and Herndon seven.
The Phillies lineup against righty Craig Stammen went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Dobbs (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL. Victorino moves up to the leadoff spot. Dobbs in right against the righty Stammen and not Francisco. Glad but surprised to see that move from Manuel — I was expecting Francisco in right. Castro doesn’t lead off. Four lefties in a row 3-4-5-6 for the Phils.
The Phillies were down 3-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Victorino led off and hit a ball off the body of the pitcher Stammen for a single. Polanco moved him to second with a single. Utley walked, loading the bases for Howard. Howard singled into center, scoring Victorino and Polanco. 3-2. Dobbs was next and he doubled down the right field line on a ball that went just under Dunn’s glove at first. Utley scored to tie the game at 3-3 and Howard went to third. It brought up Ibanez with nobody out and men on second and third. Ibanez delivered a fly ball to left. Howard scored to make it 4-3, but Dobbs held second. Castro lined to right for the second out, Dobbs tagged and went to third. Ruiz grounded to third to end the inning.
Great inning for the Phils, but they did only manage to get one more run after putting men on second and third with nobody out. Dunn should have made the play on the double by Dobbs.
They were down again when they came to bat in the second, this time 6-4. Figueroa led off and lined a single into center. Victorino flew to right for the first out, but Polanco was next and he doubled to left. It brought Utley up with men on second and third and he homered to right, putting the Phils up 7-6. Lefty Jesse English came in to pitch to Howard and Howard singled to center. Dobbs struck out swinging for the second out before Ibanez moved Howard to second with a single. Castro grounded to third to leave both men stranded.
Rare at-bat for Dobbs against a lefty — he had just 17 plate appearances against lefties in ’08 and ’09 combined.
They started the bottom of the third tied 7-7. Ruiz led off and grounded hard to third for the first out. Figueroa followed and delivered another hit, this one a double into the left field corner. Victorino lined a single into center and Figueroa went to third. Polanco struck out and Utley fouled out to end the inning with both runners stranded.
Polanco can’t get it done that time with one out and men on first and third. Figueroa probably should have scored from second on the Victorino single, but must have thought there was a chance it was going to hang up long enough for Morgan to catch it.
English was back for the fourth and got three lefties, Howard, Dobbs and Ibanez, in order.
No righty breaking up the lefties for the Phils and English mowed ‘em down in the fourth after getting Utley with two outs and two on in the third.
Castro hit a dribbler down the third base line off of righty Jason Bergmann to start the bottom of the fifth. Gonzalez made a nice play to bare hand and throw him out at first. Ruiz followed with a walk and Gload hit for Figueroa. Gload popped to third on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and hit a 3-1 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 9-7. Polanco popped to second for the third out.
Utley started the sixth with a homer off of lefty Sean Burnett. 10-7. Howard struck out looking for the first out. Francisco hit for Dobbs with the lefty on the mound and the Nats called on righty Brian Bruney to pitch to him. Francisco grounded to third for the second out. Ibanez struck out to end the inning.
Castro and Ruiz walked back-to-back to start the seventh. With the righty Bruney still pitching for Washington, Werth hit for Durbin and Bruney walked him, too. It loaded the bases for Victorino and righty Tyler Clippard came in to pitch to him. Victorino split the gap in right center with a triple that cleared the bases. The Phillies led 13-7. Polanco was next and flew to center deep enough for Victorino to score. 14-7. Utley flew to center for the second out and Howard hit a ball well to center that Morgan took for the third out.
Francisco, Ibanez and Castro went in order in the eighth.
Victorino fared well in the lead off spot, going 4-for-5 with a triple, a home run and five RBI.
Polanco 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s hitting .486.
Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk, two home runs and four RBI.
Howard was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Dobbs 1-for-3 with a double. Glad to see him getting a start in the outfield with a righty on the mound.
Ibanez was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Castro 0-for-4 with a walk.
Ruiz 0-for-2 with two walks. He’s on-basing .462 and on pace to walk 142 times this season.
JA Happ (1-0, 0.00) makes his second start of the season this afternoon against lefty Scott Olsen (NR). Happ threw five scoreless innings against the Astros on Friday, but needed 103 pitches to do it. Olsen will be making his first start of the season coming off of shoulder surgery this past summer.