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Gameday: Marlins (6-5) at Phillies (8-2)

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Sat, April 17, 2010 06:25 PM Comments: 65

MarlinsFlorida Marlins (6-5) at Philadelphia Phillies (8-2)

Ricky Nolasco (0-0, 5.68) vs. Jamie Moyer (1-0, 7.50)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park

Weather: Partly cloudy, 54 degrees

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Twitter: @philliesnation and below

Kyle Kendrick’s frightening first two starts of the season put pressure squarely on one other member of the Phillies’ rotation: Jamie Moyer. If Kendrick’s struggles continue but the 47-year-old Moyer pitches moderately well, the Phillies probably will be able to get by – even if it means yanking Kendrick from the rotation and calling up a replacement from Triple-A Lehigh Valley – until Joe Blanton returns. (Blanton is set to make his first rehab start for Single-A Lakewood on Tuesday, putting him on track to return to the Phils in early May.)

On the other hand, if Moyer also fails to pitch consistently, the Phillies have a problem. In his season debut last Saturday, Moyer had a subpar outing against the Astros at Minute Maid Park, allowing five two-out runs in the third inning but rebounding to last six innings and ride the Ryan Howard Express to victory.

For Moyer’s second start of the season, two opposing trends collide. On one hand, we have the crafty veteran’s hypnotic powers against the Marlins (13-4, 2.93 ERA), a perpetually young team whose lineup has never met a pitch it didn’t think it could jack 450 feet into the upper deck. But last season the Fish seemed to finally figure out Moyer, beating him three times, including once each in August and September (to Moyer’s credit, the Phils scored a total of three runs in those games).

As pressing as the questions about the Phillies’ pitching staff are, their lineup has been a industrial-strength bottle of Wite-Out, erasing most of the crooked numbers put up by the team’s pitchers – speaking of which, does anyone use Wite-Out anymore? Well, considering his age and experience, if anyone on the Phillies roster knows the value of Wite-Out, it’s Jamie Moyer.

Your gameday beer: Truly one of the best beers in the world, Rodenbach Grand Cru, a Flanders red ale, is an absolute treat. Brewed with aged malt and yeast and then mixed with other old ales, it’s a fine collection of all-natural flavors — with a name befitting the Phillies roster. Has a distinct cherry taste. You can get it at Monk’s in Philly. I suggest it. Drink it with some smoked halibut.
Timothy Malcolm

Go Phillies!

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Kendrick Smacked Around in Loss to Nationals

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Thu, April 08, 2010 08:13 PM Comments: 58

Well, that certainly wasn’t what Kyle Kendrick was hoping for. After a strong spring training and substantial talk about how he has developed several other pitches to complement his sinkerball and has been learning from Roy Halladay, Kendrick came out and promptly allowed three first-inning runs in a 6-5 loss to the Nationals before a meager crowd of 20,217 at Nationals Park. To make matters worse, after the Phillies had scratched back to tie the game, Nelson Figueroa – previously a Phillie, yes, but also a castaway of the Mets’ bullpen – allowed the eventual winning run on a looping double by Ryan Zimmerman in the seventh inning.

The Nationals jumped all over Kendrick as if they knew what was coming. On the second pitch of the game, Nyjer Morgan smacked a fastball to right field for a triple. Cristian Guzman followed with a single on the second pitch, and Ryan Zimmerman pounded a first-ball fastball for a double to left; he later scored on a sacrifice fly.

After the Phillies pulled to within 3-2, Willie Harris drove a Kendrick change-up over the fence in right-center in the fourth. Kendrick was yanked after the inning, having allowed five earned runs and six hits while throwing only 55 pitches.

In the fifth, Nyjer Morgan misplayed a sharp liner hit by Placido Polanco into a two-base error, scoring Ross Gload, and Ryan Howard lined a single to center with two outs to cut the score to 5-4. But Howard isn’t exactly known for his baseruning, and moments later he made a grievous error on a double by Jayson Werth, rounding third base too far and getting caught in a rundown before being thrown out at home by 20 feet.

In the sixth, the Phillies loaded the bases with one out, and Jimmy Rollins tied the score with a sacrifice fly to right field. But Placido Polanco grounded out to end the threat.

The Phils were poised to at least tie the score in the ninth after Chase Utley led off with a double off Nationals closer Matt Capps. But with Utley on third and Howard on second with one out, Raul Ibanez – looking a lot like the Ibanez from spring training – flied out weakly to left. Victorino followed with a popup to shortstop, and the Phillies failed in their bid to open the season with a series sweep for the first time in nine years.

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Gameday: Phillies (2-0) at Nationals (0-2)

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Thu, April 08, 2010 03:44 PM Comments: 105

Philadelphia Phillies (2-0) at Washington Nationals (0-2)

Kyle Kendrick, RHP vs. Craig Stammen, RHP

Time: 4:35, Nationals Park
Weather: Cloudy/Windy, 84
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Twitter: Phillies Nation

If the Phillies have had a kryptonite the past few seasons, it’s been the month of April. But with the offense erupting for 19 runs in two victories over the Nationals, the Phillies are a win away from sweeping the season’s opening series for the first time since 2001. Yes, it’s been that long. Until Wednesday, Jimmy Rollins was the only current player left from that scrappy squad that nearly stole the NL East pennant. But then the Phils picked up Nelson Figueroa off waivers from the Mets – if nothing else, a positive omen for the Phillies heading into today’s finale.

With all the fuss over the guy who wears No. 34, the evolution of Kyle Kendrick was one of the quieter stories of the Phillies’ spring training, and this game should give us a better sense of just how far he has come from being a one-pitch wonder to a capable starter who can fall back on a change-up and cut fastball in addition to his sinker to get outs. No other Phillies pitcher had a better spring than Kendrick, who allowed only four earned runs in 24 2/3 innings for a mighty-impressive 1.42 ERA (though Jamie Moyer was a close second).

The Phillies’ top four hitters in the lineup – Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard — have feasted on the Nationals’ pitching in the first two games, going 15-for-34 (.441).  Today’s dish is second-year starter Craig Stammen, who will have the advantage of unfamiliarity because the Phillies haven’t faced him.

Stammen, who went 4-7 with a 5.11 ERA in 2009,  is a control pitcher who relies on a curveball for strikeouts and probably wouldn’t be on many other teams’ rotations – much less occupy the No. 3 starter role. But that is the sorry state of the Nationals’ pitching staff.

Today’s Lineup: Rollins (SS), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Victorino (CF), Schneider (C), Kendrick (P).

KenzingerYour Gameday Beer – Pabst Blue Ribbon

It just feels like a Pabst day.  It’s a 4:35 start today, meaning you’ll likely be getting off of work, sitting down on the couch, and enjoying the game.  That feels Pabst-like to me.  Don’t mistake it for a high-quality beer, but for a cheap case you can’t beat it.  On their Wikipedia page it says, “Whether the brand actually won an award in 1893 is unclear.” My guess is, it didn’t.  But enjoy it anyway, ice cold! – By Pat

GO PHILS!

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