“If you are looking for a poster boy for the renaissance this Phillies team has experienced over the past couple weeks, the mound at Sun Life Stadium is a good place to start.
That’s where Kyle Kendrick spent the majority of a soggy August evening shutting down the Marlins’ offense, pitching six strong innings last night while leading the Phillies to a 7-2 win over a team that entered the week as the hottest in the National League East.
Three weeks earlier, the young righthander had allowed seven runs in five innings against the Cardinals, earning himself a demotion to the minors and the team its fourth loss in five games. The Phillies dropped to 48-44, six games out of first.
They weren’t scoring, a fact that in a few short days would cost hitting coach Milt Thompson his job. But they also weren’t pitching, a fact clearly illustrated by the 4.72 ERA they had posted in their previous 44 games.
But, as of today, when the Phillies have a chance to complete a three-game sweep in Florida and return North with a full head of steam, all of that has changed.
The Phillies have won 11 of 13 games since that series in St. Louis, trimming their seven-game deficit to a mere two. They have hit over .300, averaged more than five runs per game, and endured even more injuries. But they have also posted a sparkling 2.75 ERA, with no small thanks to a rejuvenated Kendrick.
“That’s what it takes,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “That’s what the game is all about when you get down to it: consistent pitching, starters and bullpen.”
Last night, Ross Gload and Domonic Brown spotted the 25-year-old sinkerballer a 2-0 lead on a pair of two-out RBI singles in the first inning, and he never relinquished it. Marlins rookie Mike Stanton crushed a changeup for a home run in the second inning, and Gaby Sanchez singled home a run in the fifth. Otherwise, Kendrick executed his gameplan: Trust his sinker, pitch to contact, and every now and then give props for a great defensive play.”
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