Kyle Kendrick appeared to find his place in the bullpen, but with the departure of Joe Blanton, he found himself back in the rotation. Although he only spent a short amount of time in the bullpen, there has been a slight difference (3.95 ERA as a reliever, 4.54 as starter). Out of the bullpen, Kendrick limited hitters to a .231 average, opposed to .285 in the rotation.
Kendrick will be making his second start this month. His last start came on short notice, as it was the same day Blanton was traded. Kendrick only tossed four innings against Arizona, but the Phillies would like to have him last at least six. However, sometimes the problem has been keeping Kendrick in games too long. Kendrick needs to pitch effectively, but the Phillies also need to use him effectively. Until Kendrick can pitch consistently and avoid the big inning, his job will be in jeopardy.
Ryan Howard will be tonight’s hitter to watch, especially after hitting a bomb to left-center field on Tuesday night. Howard hitting the ball towards the opposite field is always a good sign. Additionally, Howard has had plenty of success against Hudson throughout his career (.328 AVG, 6 HR, 1.110 OPS). He went 2-for-4 with a double against Hudson on July 6, but went 0-for-4 against him on July 29. Howard needs to get into a groove, and hopefully last night’s home run indicates that good things are ahead.
Gameday Beer: Today’s beer is Piraat. This Belgian beer is an Amber Triple IPA – and yes, it’s all that and more. It has a full complex flavor: citrus and spices to start with a sweet finish. Don’t let the pretty orange pour fool you, this dangerously delicious brew weighs in at a hefty 10.5% alcohol. Eat a light dinner with some Dutch cheese, like Edam or Gouda, a baguette and grapes. - By Brian