Kendrick, Phillies Drop Final Game in San Diego, 7-3


Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies looked to Kyle Kendrick for a well-pitched game Thursday night.  He didn’t deliver.  Neither did the rest of the team, as the Phillies dropped the final game of a four-game series against the Padres, 7-3.

Kendrick was his usual self in his five, less-than-stellar innings.  He allowed eleven base runners during those five  innings, plus a hit batter.  Five walks in five innings is tough to accomplish with a home plate umpire who’s strike zone is as big as California itself.

Meanwhile, the Phillies offense could not muster anything against Padres’ starter Robbie Erlin.  The soft-tossing lefty – appearing in his first game since May – kept the young Phillies’ hitters off-balance all night.

The Padres opened the scoring in the second inning when diminutive shortstop Alexi Amarista golfed a breaking pitch that just cleared the right field wall.  A wall-scraper, but a four-bagger, nonetheless.  It was Amarista’s fifth home run of the season and second of the series.

Darin Ruf roped a double into the left field corner to commence a mini-rally for the Phillies in the top of the fourth inning.  Two batters latter, Domonic Brown lined an RBI single bringing home Ruf to tie the game.

When the Phillies needed a shut down inning from Kendrick, they did not receive it.  A lead off walk to catcher Yasmani Grandal opened the bottom half of the fourth.  Three batters later, Amarista lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to put San Diego ahead for good.

The Padres would add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to open up a 4-1 lead.

The Phillies’ biggest chance to tie the game came in the eighth inning.  Padres manager Bud Black brought in hard-throwing Dale Thayer (who looks like an unkempt Goose Gossage) to face the Phillies.  Ben Revere and Freddy Galvis opened the inning with back-to-back singles.

The tying run came to the plate.  Thayer struck out Marlon Byrd on a high, hard one for the first out.  Then came the moment of truth for the young power hitters.  Ruf and Maikel Franco were due to face the righty.  Each one represented the tying run.  Manager Ryne Sandberg had Ryan Howard at his disposal.  But, on this night, it was time to see what the youngsters could do in a tough, late-inning pressure cooker.

Ruf struck out on a high fastball and Franco chased a breaking pitch in the dirt.  They came up short on this night, but it was part of the learning experience that all young players endure.

With the Phillies on pace for their first 90-loss season since 2000, the Phillies have to use the rest of the season to evaluate the young players.  At this point, it’s not about wins and losses at the major league level, but about player development and evaluation.

The journey continues in Oakland this weekend.