The problem for the Phillies isn’t that they fail to grasp the seriousness of their situation or elevate their level of play. The problem is that they do and that they have and they keep losing anyway. The Phils have battled for just about every at-bat over the last handful of games, but Rays and the Pirates haven’t seemed that impressed. After losing 5-4 yesterday afternoon, the Phils are 2-4 over their last six games.
They’ve still got plenty of time to get it going, but they didn’t start yesterday. Kendrick had a hide-your-eyes ugly first inning that saw the Pirates score five runs by the time they sent their seventh batter of the game to the plate. The pitching was great after that, Kendrick tossed six scoreless frames and new additions Sanches and Horst combined to throw two more, but the Phils couldn’t quite climb all the way back as their rally fell a run short.
So somebody needs to get in there an kick the flux capacitor or something. Cause right now all I can picture is a rather exasperated-looking Charlie Manuel firing off an “I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!” and the only response to this point has been a diverse group of opposing players hitting the ball all manner of hard and far against an equally diverse group of Phillie pitchers.
The Phillies are 36-42 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 yesterday afternoon. The teams split the four-game series. The Phils are in fifth place in the NL East, nine games behind the first place Nationals.
Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for first inning home runs, a three-run blast and a solo shot.
Kendrick has a 7.67 ERA over his last five starts. Opponents have hit .294 against him and he’s allowed five home runs and 15 walks over 27 innings.
Drew Sutton was the first batter of the game and reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Kendrick. Neil Walker followed that with a walk, putting runners on first and second for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen flew to right for the first out with Sutton tagging and moving up to third. With men on the corners, Garrett Jones singled to right, scoring Sutton to put the Pirates up 1-0 with men on first and second for Casey McGehee. McGehee hit a 1-2 pitch from Kendrick out to left-center. 4-0. Alvarez was next and homered to right. 5-0. Kendrick struck out Clint Barmes for the second out and got Michael McKenry on a fly ball to left for the third.
Kendrick got the first two batters to start the second before Walker singled to left. McCutchen went down swinging to leave Walker stranded.
He set the Pirates down in order in the third, fourth and the fifth.
He walked McGehee with one out in the sixth, but got Alvarez and Barmes behind him.
McKenry reached on an infield single to start the seventh. Burnett tried to bunt him to second, but Kratz fielded, threw to second for the first out and Rollins went to Fontenot at first to complete the double-play. Kendrick walked Sutton and Alex Presley ran for Sutton at first. Kendrick got Walker to line to left to leave Presley at first.
Very nice play by Kratz to pounce on the ball and throw to second to start the double-play.
Sanches started the eighth. Jones doubled off the railing in right with one out on a play that was still a double after being reviewed. McGehee was next and flew to center for the second out with Jones moving up to third. Sanches walked the lefty Alvarez intentionally to put runners on first and third for Barmes. Sanches got Barmes swinging 3-2 to leave both men stranded.
Fourth appearance for Sanches with the Phillies this season and the first time he hasn’t been charged with at least one run.
It was 5-4 when Horst started the ninth, making his debut with the Phillies. He walked McKenry on five pitches to start the frame. Tabata bunted McKenry to second with the first out. Alex Presley was next and Horst walked him, too, putting runners on first and second. Horst got Walker on a foul ball handled by Wigginton for the second out. McCutchen was next and Horst struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.
Horst facing the righty McCutchen with two men on doesn’t make you feel real comfortable, but the lefty got it done that time. He has thrown to a 2.11 ERA at Triple-A this year, but with a 1.59 ratio. In 38 1/3 innings he’s allowed 43 hits and walked 18.
Sanches and Horst get the job done in the game, throwing two scoreless innings as they allow a hit and two walks. Horst threw 24 pitches and Sanches 22.
The Phillies lineup against righty AJ Burnett went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Wigginton (7) Fontenot (8) Kratz. Pierre in left against the righty with Wigginton at first. Kratz makes his first start of the year catching the day game after a night game. Polanco hits fifth, which is terrible given that he has slugged .375 over his last 2,054 plate appearances coming into the game. Fontenot at second with Utley resting.
Down 5-0, Victorino singled with two outs and took second on an error by Jones in right. Pence grounded to the pitcher to end the inning.
Wigginton singled to center with one out in the second. Fontenot was next and flew to center for the second out, but was next and hit an 0-2 pitch out to center, getting the Phils on the board at 5-2. Kendrick grounded to second for the third out.
Second home run in five at-bats for Kratz on the year.
Pierre singled with one out in the third and stole second. Pierre took third on a ground out, but was left stranded when Burnett struck Pence out looking 1-2 to end the inning.
The Phils went in order in the fourth and again in the fifth.
Victorino and Pence singled back-to-back with one out in the sixth, putting runners on the corners for Polanco. Polanco hit a ground ball to third. Alvarez went to second for the first out, but Polanco beat the relay to first as Victorino scored to make it 5-3. Wigginton walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Fontenot. Fontenot took ball one way high and then grounded to first to end the inning.
Kinda looked like Burnett had lost the strike zone there a little.
Kratz struck out to start the seventh. Utley hit for Kendrick and struck out for the second before Rollins walked. Righty Juan Cruz came in to pitch to Pierre and walked him, putting two men on for Victorino. Victorino flew to left for the third out.
Pence started the eighth and lined a 1-1 pitch just out to left off of righty Jason Grilli. 5-4. Polanco was hit by a pitch. Wigginton got ahead 3-1, but struck out swinging for the first out. Fontenot followed and singled on a ball knocked down but not handled by Grilli. It put runners on first and second for Kratz and Thome hit for him. He hammered the first pitch he saw out by foul and then struck out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Ruiz hit for Sanches and fouled out to McGehee as the first baseman went into the stands to make a great catch and end the inning.
Rollins singled off of righty Joel Hanrahan to start the ninth. Pierre bunted him to second with the first out and Victorino struck out swinging for the second. It brought Pence to the plate with two down and Rollins on second. Before Hanrahan threw a pitch to Pence, Rollins stole third, but Pence flew to McCutchen in shallow center to end the game.
Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. 5-for-16 with three walks, a double a triple and a home run in the series. 339/385/645 over his last 130 plate appearances. 268/322/419 for the year. He’s hitting .323 at home and .215 on the road.
Pierre 1-for-3 with a walk and another stolen base, which gives him 18 on the year. He’s been caught just three times. 2-for-11 with a walk in the series. 254/299/365 over his last 69 plate appearances and 315/355/380 for the year.
Victorino 2-for-5 with a strikeout and four men left on base. 5-for-15 in the series with two walks and five singles. 253/324/390 for the year. Doesn’t seem like a great choice to hit third against a righty given his 231/300/319 line against them for the season.
Pence 2-for-5 with a home run. 6-for-17 with two walks, a double, a triple and a home run in the series. He came into the series slugging .329 over his last 90 plate appearances without a home run. 277/345/476 for the season.
Polanco 0-for-3 with an RBI thanks to nice hustle to beat out his double-play ball. 4-for-10 with two walks and four singles in the set. 278/324/363. Polanco hitting fifth against a right-handed pitcher is a pretty good sign there are some issues with your lineup.
Wigginton 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-12 with two walks and a home run in the set. 250/317/398 for the year. Playing way too much against righties. 185/228/315 over his last 57 plate appearances. It’s him, Mayberry or Luna at first so far and they’re all right-handed. Mayberry’s hitting 212/246/470 in June. Luna is 1-for-his-last-11 with five strikeouts. If Nix is back in a few weeks, that will help. Till then I really think they should consider giving the lefty Fontenot a try at first against some righties.
Kratz was great. 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and made a great play to start a double-play on the bunt in the seventh. 2-for-7 on the year with two home runs.
Ruiz was 0-for-1 in the game and 8-for-14 with two home runs in the series. 362/429/588 for the year. He’s obviously getting a ton more hits in 2012 than he has over his career, but also hitting for way more power, especially against right-handed pitching. For his career, his isolated power against righties is .133. So far in 2012, his isolated power against righties is .242 (for lefties it is .183 this year compared to .155 for his career).
Cliff Lee (0-4, 3.72) faces righty Josh Johnson (4-5, 3.96) tonight in Florida. Lee has a 5.10 ERA over his last seven starts and the Phillies are 3-9 in his outings for the year. Johnson threw to a 6.61 ERA in his first six starts on the season. Since then he’s made nine starts, throwing to a 2.56 ERA and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of those outings.