A game like this one makes you wonder about Kyle Kendrick. There are times when he actually looks like a bona fide major league pitcher and there are many more times where he looks scared to throw the ball over the plate. While he did not ruin everything today, he did little to make us believe that he is anything but a marginal major league pitcher.
Despite Kendrick’s averageness, this one really appeared to be a relatively easy win. Jimmy Rollins and Juan Pierre both hit home runs accounting for five of the Phillies’ seven runs. This was absolutely, without a doubt the hardest I have ever seen Juan Pierre hit a ball. That really has to be embarrassing for a pitcher. Pierre has a total of sixteen career home runs with a career high three coming in 2006. There was some crazy stat on the broadcast that this was the first time since 2003 that Pierre homered with men on base. This is partly due to the fact that he has been a lead-off man for the majority of his career and partly due to the fact that he is historically devoid of power. James Shields looks like a jerk and it makes me happy that Pierre emasculated him.
It is not often that the name Raul Valdez and the phrase calming influence are used concurrently. For the duration of Kyle Kendrick’s outing, there were Tampa Bay players occuping the basepaths. He allowed nine baserunners in his four innings of work. Conversly, Valdez allowed one in his two innings of work and settled things down nicely for the Phils. If he weren’t for a Ray’s comeback in the ninth, Valdez would have tripled Cliff Lee’s win total. Even Qualls got into the competant bullpen parade, working 2/3 of an inning of scoreless baseball. Antonio Bastardo must have missed the memo. He was absolutely terrifing today, loading up the bases with no outs. He got out of the jam allowing only one run, but he near killed all of us.
Jonathan Papelbon has not blown a save this season and he has been the only pitcher who does not illicit night terrors when he enters a baseball game. He blew his first save of the year on an RBI single to ex Brave Brooks Conrad. I wonder what his stupid alter ego thinks about this one.
Jim Thome pinch hit for Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth inning. He responded by becoming the all time leader in walk off home runs with thirteen. This is the kind of win that the Phillies have not been able to get this season. This new look team has seemed destined to fail in these type of situations. Hopefully today changes that around.
The moment that victory seemed imminent was Thome’s home run. This team has been finding ways to lose these games all year and this one really appeared to have slipped away. Thome’s opposite field blast made us remember what it is like not to suck.
The most attractive play of the game was Thome’s home run. This type of stuff has been pretty scarce around here lately and it feels good to wallow in the pain of others.
The hero of the game was Juan Pierre. Jim Thome has almost as many career walk off home runs as Pierre does home runs period. Pierre hit a three run homer, stole two bases and was pretty much a pain in the ass all day long. This type of performance makes me remember how much I hated him when he played elsewhere.
The villain of the game was Brooks Conrad. Brooks is a stupid name.
Tomorrow the Phillies play two games using their two best starting pitchers. Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee looks to deal the Rays a double dose of defeat. ALLITERATION!