The Phillies have lost three in a row, dropping the first two in their recent funk because of their starting pitching and last night’s game in spite of it. Kendrick was better than good enough in the opener with the Nationals, holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings, but the Phils frustrated at the plate and on the bases as they fell 2-1.

The 4-5-6 hitters in the lineup combined to go 0-for-9 with 16 men left on base in the game. The base-running issues peaked in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Phillies failed to score after putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Pence got the first chance to bring the runners home and hit a ball into center, but Rick Ankiel made a diving catch for the first out with Polanco too far off of third to tag up and score a run the Phils would need desperately.

On the plus side, the bullpen has quietly been excellent as the Phils dropped three straight, throwing 8 2/3 scoreless innings in those games. Last night Raul Valdes tossed two perfect frames in relief of Kendrick, dropping the bullpen ERA for the year to 4.88 (29th of 30 MLB teams).

The Phillies are 21-22 on the year after losing to the Washington Nationals 2-1 last night. The Phils have lost three games in a row and are 1-3 against the Nats this year.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out four and dropped his ERA on the year to 5.23. He has a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts and the Phillies have lost three of those games. The Phillies are 1-9 for the year in which Kendrick has appeared (five starts and five relief appearances).

Bryce Harper singled to center with one out in the top of the first, but Kendrick got Ryan Zimmerman to hit into a double-play behind him.

Kendrick got Adam LaRoche to fly to center for the first out in the second, but Ian Desmond was next and Desmond hit the first pitch he saw from Kendrick out to center, putting the Nats up 1-0. Kendrick got Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel on a pair of ground balls behind Desmond.

Kendrick has allowed five home runs in 32 2/3 innings on the year, which is the worst home run rate for any of the team’s starters other than Worley. Worley has allowed seven home runs in 44 innings.

Jesus Flores led off the third with a single to center and the pitcher Gio Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Steve Lombardozzi was next and flew to right. Flores tagged and moved up to third with two down. Harper was the next batter and Kendrick’s 2-2 pitch to him was in the dirt and got away from Ruiz. Flores tried to score from third, but Ruiz threw to Kendrick covering home and Kendrick tagged Flores out on a close play at the plate to end the frame.

Harper led off the fourth with a single and stole second before Kendrick struck out Zimmerman for the first out. He walked the lefty LaRoche on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Desmond and Desmond singled into left, scoring Harper to make it 2-0 and moving LaRoche up to second. Kendrick walked Espinosa on five pitches to load the bases, but struck Ankiel out swinging for the second out and got Flores on a ground ball to third to set Washington down.

Two walks in the innings for Kendrick, but the strikeout of Ankiel with one out and the bases loaded was huge. Two RBI for Desmond through four innings in a game in which the Phillies would score one run.

Kendrick set the Nats down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Mayberry made a fantastic play for the second out of the inning in the sixth, diving to his right to field a ball hit hard by LaRoche and flipping to Kendrick covering first to record the out.

Raul Valdes started the eighth and got pinch-hitter Xavier Nady, Lombardozzi and Harper in order.

Valdes got Zimmerman, LaRoche and Desmond in order in the ninth.

Third appearance of the year for Valdes. He has allowed one hit and no walks while striking out six over 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He threw 19 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Gio Gonzalez went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Fontenot. Rollins out of the lineup after the birth of his first child. Galvis starts at short with Fontenot at second. Pierre plays left against the lefty. Polanco returns to the lineup. Wigginton needs to start against left-handed pitching and Pierre should not.

Pierre and Polanco struck out as the Phillies went in order in the bottom of the first.

The Phillies were down 1-0 when Pence walked to start the bottom of the second. Ruiz struck out for the first out before Pence took second on a wild pitch. Mayberry struck out for the second out and Galvis struck out for the third.

Fontenot and Kendrick both struck out for the first two outs in the third before the Phillies loaded the bases on singles by Pierre and Polanco and a walk to Victorino. Pence grounded to short to leave them loaded.

Ruiz was hit by a pitch to start the fourth with the Phillies down 2-0. Mayberry struck out again for the first out and Galvis grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Polanco walked to start the sixth and moved to third when Victorino followed with a double. Pence was next and hit the ball well to center, but Ankiel made a diving catch for the first out. Polanco was way off third and unable to get back to tag and score. Ruiz was next and hit a ball to first. This time Polanco did try and score, but LaRoche threw home and he was tagged out for the second out. Mayberry flew to right for the third out.

At least Mayberry didn’t strike out this time. That’s some miserable base-running by Polanco, who has to score on Pence’s ball whether it is caught or not.

No runs for the Phils after putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

Righty Craig Stammen set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Orr hit for Kendrick and struck out for the third out.

Polanco and Victorino singled back-to-back off of Stammen with one out in the eighth, putting runners on first and second for Pence. Pence popped to Zimmerman at third for the second out and Ruiz grounded to short for the third.

Righty Henry Rodriguez started the ninth for Washington with the Nats still leading by two runs. Mayberry led off and walked on four pitches. Galvis flew to right for the first out before Mayberry took second on a wild pitch. Fontenot was next and singled into center. Mayberry looked like he might have been able to score, but held third, putting men on first and third with one down. With the righty Rodriguez still pitching, Wigginton hit for Valdes. A second wild pitch by Rodriguez moved Fontenot up to second and lefty Sean Burnett took over on the mound. Burnett got Wigginton on a fly ball to right, deep enough for Mayberry to tag and score from third. That cut the lead to 2-1 with two outs and Fontenot on second for Pierre. Luna hit for Pierre against the lefty and walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco lined to second to end the game.

I think it was nutty for the Nats to bring in a lefty to pitch to Wigginton in the middle of his at-bat, even after two wild pitches, but it worked out well for them. Mayberry should have scored on Fontenot’s single, but it didn’t matter as he scored anyway.

Mayberry draws a walk to get things started. After walking once in his first 77 plate appearances for the year, he has now walked five times in his last 38 plate appearances. Over the first 77 plate appearances he hit .240 and on-based .247. Over his last 38 plate appearances he hit .242 and on-based .342, proving once and for all that walks are our friend.

Pierre was 1-for-4 with a single in the game. Doesn’t belong in the lineup against a lefty, especially if the Phillies are going to play Mayberry at first and put Wigginton on the bench. Pierre is 1-for-his-last-12 and 5-for-his-last-26 (.192). 174/208/174 against lefties for the year.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a walk and some ugly work on the bases. 351/383/468 over his last 83 plate appearances.

Victorino 2-for-3 with a walk and a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. 6-for-his-last-11 with two walks and two doubles. 296/380/444 in May.

Pence was 0-for-3 with a walk and left seven men on base. Should have had an RBI on the ball Ankiel caught in the sixth. He came into the game 10-for-his-last-24.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a strikeout and five men left on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-8.

Mayberry was 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and four men left on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-7, but hitting 271/333/390 in May. That’s not good, but considering he hit 204/204/245 in April, remember it could be a lot worse. He made a truly excellent defensive play for the second out in the sixth, robbing LaRoche of a hit.

Galvis 0-for-4 with three men left on base. He came into the game 10-for-his-last-28.

Fontenot 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 3-for-7 with three singles with the Phils so far.

Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22) faces righty Jordan Zimmerman (2-4, 2.58) tonight. Halladay’s ERA jumped from 1.95 to 3.40 when he allowed eight runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Braves on May 2. Since then he’s made three starts, going 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA and an 0.95 ratio. After walking ten hitters in five starts in April he has walked two so far in four May starts. Zimmerman threw to a 1.33 ERA in his four starts in April, but has cooled a bit in May. He has a 3.91 ERA in his four May outings. He faced the Phils on May 6 and allowed three runs over six innings — that’s the game where Hamels hit Harper.

The next update to Philliesflow will be around May 29.