The Phils posted a miserable 9-23 record on the road between the middle of May and the end of July, raising questions about how they would ever find a way into the post-season with such miserable results away from home. The bad news is they probably won’t make the post-season without showing dramatic improvement on the road. The good news is that shouldn’t be too hard to do. It looks like they’ve started already, opening August by going 3-0 away from Citizens Bank Park.
Kyle Kendrick delivered yet another solid start last night and the Phils have now won all three games he’s pitched since returning from Triple-A. In those starts he’s 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. In his 20 appearances before being sent to the minors, Kendrick struck out about 4.24 batters per nine innings. In his three starts since he has struck out 6.05 per nine.
Domonic Brown flashed some more of his glove and his bat as well. Brown drove in three runs and made a fantastic throw in the bottom of the third inning to nail Gaby Sanchez at the plate.
The Phillies are 59-48 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 7-2 last night. They have won three in a row and remain two games behind the Braves in the NL East.
Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
The start of the game was delayed for 58 minutes by rain. When it started, the Phils scored two in the top of the first and Kendrick started the bottom of the first with a 2-0 lead. Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez singled back-to-back with one out, putting men on first and third for Dan Uggla. Uggla hit a ball to right that Brown handled for the second out and Morrison held third. Cody Ross grounded to third for the third out.
Mike Stanton led off the second and blasted a 1-2 pitch way out to left center, cutting the lead to 2-1. Kendrick came way up and in with his first pitch to the next batter, Wes Helms, and set the next three hitters down in order.
Sanchez doubled softly to left with two outs in the third. Uggla was next and singled to right, but Brown made a very strong throw to the plate and Sanchez was tagged out to end the inning.
Great throw by Brown, who also made a strong throw in the first on a ball that Uggla hit to keep Morrison at third.
Kendrick struck out two in a 1-2-3 fourth.
He had a 4-1 lead when he started the fifth. He got the first two before Ramirez and Morrison singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Sanchez and Sanchez singled into right. Brown should have thrown to third, but threw home instead. His throw was bad a got away from Ruiz, allowing the runners to go to second and third with the lead cut to 4-2. Uggla was next and Rollins made a fantastic diving play to snare his line drive and end the inning.
Rollins saved the Phils two runs.
Up 5-2, Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 sixth.
Contreras pitched the seventh. He allowed a two-out single to Ramirez, but got Morrison to ground to second to leave the runner stranded.
Madson pitched the eighth. Sanchez led off with a double and Uggla walked behind him. Ross hit a fly ball to center for the first out, deep enough for the runners to move to second and third. Madson struck Stanton and Helms both out swinging to end the inning.
Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a 7-2 lead to drop his ERA on the year to 5.09.
Madson threw 27 pitches in the game, Contreras 15 and Lidge 14.
The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Ibanez (4) Werth (5) Gload (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Gload at first against the righty. Valdez at second with Polanco at third and Dobbs on the bench. Brown plays right against the righty.
Polanco singled with one out in the first and took second on a wild pitch before Ibanez walked. It put men on first and second for Werth and Werth struck out for the second out. Gload singled into center and Polanco scored, putting the Phils up 1-0. With two down and men on first and second, Brown singled into center. Ibanez scored and the Phils were up 2-0. Ruiz struck out to leave both runners stranded.
Rollins reached on an infield single with two outs in the second, but Polanco popped to short behind him.
The lead was cut to 2-1 when the Phils hit in the third. Gload walked with two outs and took second on another wild pitch, but Brown hit a ball that the pitcher handled for the third out.
They went in order in the fourth.
Rollins and Polanco singled back-to-back to start the fifth. It put men on first and second for Ibanez and Ibanez singled into right. Rollins came in to score (3-1) with the runners winding up at second and third after the throw came home. Werth struck out for the first out and the righty Sanchez walked the lefty Gload intentionally to load the bases. Lefty Taylor Tankersley came in to pitch to Brown and Brown hit a fly ball to right deep enough for Polanco to tag and score, putting the Phils up 4-1. Ruiz grounded to third for the third out.
Another strikeout for Werth, this time with nobody out and men on second and third.
The lead was cut to 4-2 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Kendrick doubled with one out and Rollins walked behind him. Polanco was next and he walked, loading the bases. Ibanez hit a fly ball to right. Kendrick tagged and scored (5-2) and Rollins went to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Werth flew to center to end the frame.
The Phils went in order in the seventh.
With righty Clay Hensley on the mound for Florida, Dobbs hit for Contreras with one out in the eighth and grounded to third. Rollins walked behind him, but Polanco flew to center for the third out.
Ibanez and Werth singled back-to-back to start the ninth. Gload was next and flew to left. Ibanez tagged and took third, putting men on first and third with one down. Brown was next and hit a ball to Uggla at second. Uggla flipped to second to try to start the double-play, but the flip was awful and Ramirez didn’t have a chance. Ibanez scored to make it 6-2 with men on first and third. Ruiz followed that with a single to left that brought Werth in and it was 7-2. With men on first and second with one out, Valdez hit a ground ball to third and Ruiz was forced at second for the second out. With righty Leo Nunez on the mound for the Fish, Francisco hit for Madson and walked to load the bases. Rollins flew to left to leave the runners stranded.
Rollins was 2-for-4 and walked twice. Over his last four games he’s 5-for-17 with five walks. Prior to those four games he had on-based .273 in his 132 previous plate appearances.
Polanco 2-for-4 with a walk.
Ibanez 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. He’s hitting 393/486/590 over his last 74 plate appearances. Over his last 12 games he’s 18-for-43 (.419) with three home runs and ten walks. If you’re wondering how the Phillies are getting offense with so many players injured, I’d start there.
Top three in the order go 6-for-11 with four walks.
Werth was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts and six men left on base. He’s 1-for-his-last-10 with seven strikeouts. If you’re wondering how the Phillies offense can get better, I’d start there.
Gload was 1-for-3 with two walks and an RBI. He’s 8-for-his-last-17 with a double, a home run and five walks, raising his line on the year from 239/270/408 to 284/344/466. I’m hoping he and Sweeney become a left/right platoon instead of Sweeney becoming the regular first baseman with Howard out.
Brown was 1-for-4 with three RBI and showed off a fantastic arm in the third inning. Made a bad decision and a bad throw in the fifth, though.
Ruiz was 1-for-5 with an RBI. He’s 15-for-his-last-36 with four doubles and two home runs.
Valdez was 0-for-5 with a strikeout to drop his on-base percentage for the year to .270.
Roy Oswalt (6-13, 3.53) faces righty Chris Volstad (5-8, 4.71) tonight as the Phils go for the sweep. Oswalt allowed five runs in six innings in his first start as a Phillie. Volstad has a 5.87 ERA over his last six starts. He’s walked too many batters this season, about 3.6 per nine innings.
The Phillies acquired right-handed first baseman Mike Sweeney from Seattle. My guess is he will take Mayberry’s roster spot and platoon at first with Gload until Howard returns.