I don’t believe in voodoo. But I do believe it’s a bad idea to poke a medicine man in the chest with a sharp stick.
Therefore, I’m having a hard time understanding what kind of spell Kyle Kendrick is able to cast on the Atlanta Braves whenever he faces them. But I am convinced it is something cosmic.
Kendrick continued his second half surge Friday night, pitching 6 2/3 innings while giving up just two earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts, in beating the Braves 6-2 for his 10th win of the year.
In his career against Atlanta, Kendrick is now 7-1 with a 2.85 ERA (starting and relief appearances).
Of course, Kendrick has been killing everyone lately.
Since getting hammered by this same Braves team back on August 8th in Philly, Kendrick has been a different pitcher. In the eight starts since that night, Kendrick is 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA.
Has Kendrick really discovered something, or is this a mirage? Has his changeup really gotten this much better that he can now get both lefties and righties out with consistency? Or is this a pitcher’s version of the false hope John Mayberry Jr. gave everyone last year, when many assumed he had “discovered something” with his swing?
Regardless, Kendrick was terrific on Friday night, and the offense used their 2008 formula for scoring, getting four solo home runs from Kevin Frandsen, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley.
And in even better news, Brian McCann did NOT hit a grand slam in this game, the first time all year in which McCain did not hit a grand slam against the Phillies in a Major League-sanctioned game.
OK, so I made that last statistic up, but it really does seem like he jacks one out every time he’s in Philly.
With the win, the Phillies moved to within three games of a wild card spot thanks to St. Louis’ 5-4 loss to the Cubs in Chicago Friday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Phils, the Brewers won their seventh game in a row, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to stun the Washington Nationals 4-2. That pulled Milwaukee to within a game and a half of St. Louis. And, the Dodgers also gained ground on the Cardinals, beating the Reds to move to within two games of the wild card.
There are just 11 games left in the Phillies season.