After Friday night’s victory gave them a five-game winning streak, it looked like the Phillies had a chance to enter the All-Star break with some real momentum. So much for that.
Coming off Saturday night’s disappointing extra-inning loss, the Phillies’ pitching staff didn’t give them much of a chance on Sunday. As a result, they’ll enter the break on a two-game losing streak, leaving fans with very little to be excited about for the second half.
In Sunday’s game, Kyle Kendrick did what he does best: Give up first inning runs. Kendrick allowed singles to the first two batters of the game, and then followed that up by surrendering a three-run home run to Jayson Werth.
As often happens, Kendrick settled down after his first inning hiccup. He actually retired the next 14 batters he faced after Werth’s home run. But unfortunately, the damage was already done.
When Kendrick settled into a groove, the Phillies had a chance for a comeback, but they couldn’t get much going against Nationals starter Tanner Roark. The last time they faced Roark, they knocked him around a bit, but they couldn’t duplicate that success on Sunday. The only run they managed against Roark was an RBI groundout by Ryan Howard in the sixth.
The Phillies relievers didn’t distinguish themselves either. Mario Hollands and Justin De Fratus have both been pleasant surprises this season, but neither man looked sharp on Sunday. Hollands – perhaps rusty from the ten-games of inactivity since his last start – gave up three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings, while De Fratus was torched for three runs in his 1.1 innings, including a home run to Ryan Zimmerman.
It’s appropriate that the Phillies will enter the break on a down note. Heading into the break on a long winning streak might have provided fans with optimism about the second half. It should be clear that there is very little to be optimisitic about with this team.
Phillies fans will get a four-day reprieve (Why the heck is the All-Star break four games long now? Did we lose a war?) from watching the team lose. The drudgery will resume on Friday night.
The good news is that the Phillies will be in Atlanta and they’ve actually played well at Turner Field this season. So at least we have that to look forward to before the team returns to its losing ways.