Kendrick Solid After Rough Start in Phillies Sweep of San Diego

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Kendrick had a shaky start against the Padre, but recovered with a solid outing with five strikeouts on seven hits with one earned run.

Kendrick had a shaky start against the Padre, but recovered with a solid outing with five strikeouts on seven hits with one earned run.

PHILADELPHIA—One of the things that has killed Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 4.09) in his starts this season is his penchant for struggling in the early innings.
And so what does Kendrick do in Thursday’s game against the San Diego Padres?

Kendrick gave up two runs in the first inning. It came courtesy of an RBI double by Padres third baseman Chase Headley that scored Will Venable. An error by right fielder Marlon Byrd enabled left fielder Seth Smith to score from first to give San Diego a 2-0 lead.

After the first inning, Kendrick settled down and found his groove while keeping San Diego off the scoreboard for the rest of his outing. He also got some much needed run support from the offense to get his second win of the season.

“It was about getting ahead (in the count),” Kendrick said. “After that it was strike one and making quality pitches. I was down and getting some bad contact.”

Thanks to a huge day by John Mayberry Jr. and some clutch hitting by pinch hitter Reid Brignac, the Phillies came away with a 7-3 win to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres at Citizen’s Bank Park.

It was the Phils’ second series sweep of the season since doing it to the Miami Marlins back in April (11-13).

“After the first inning, we had some good starting pitching, our bullpen was good and we had some base-runners and some clutch hitting,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “It’s something that we want continue to do.

Starting off this homestand with the sweep can go a long way for us.”

The Phillies offense broke open a 2-2 game coming into the bottom of the sixth inning by scoring the game’s next five runs—at two-run RBI double by Brignac in the sixth off Padres reliever Dale Thayer and a three-homer by Mayberry in the bottom of the seventh.

Mayberry’s long drive sealed it for the Phillies while capping a huge day for him. He was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs batted in. Over his last 16 games, Mayberry is batting .412 (14-for-34) with five doubles, four home runs and 12 runs batted in.

“I think that my rhythm and timing have been a lot better and on top of that my pitch selection has been a lot better,” Mayberry said. “I think I have to allow them the opportunity to make a mistake and when they do you have to trust yourself that you’re going to put a good swing on it and hopefully the results will be there.”

Meanwhile, Brignac, who had a walk-off homer in Wednesday night’s game, once again came through in the clutch with a two-out pinch- hit double to put the Phillies on top for good. He said he was riding the moment from Wednesday night’s heroics.

“I definitely felt more comfortable at the plate today,” Brignac said. “It feels great in different situations and scenarios that come through for this team. For my teammates, it’s really a humbling feeling.”

In six innings on the mound, Kendrick allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks. He threw 105 pitches.

“He put zeroes up on the board and gave the offense a chance to score someruns and swing the bat,” Sandberg said.

After San Diego jumped out to its early lead, the Phillies cut the lead in half on an RBI single by shortstop Jimmy Rollins that scored Ben Revere, who doubled off San Diego starting pitcher Eric Stults to lead-off the inning. The Phillies tied the game in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Dom Brown that scored Marlon Byrd from third.

NOTES—Fire-balling rookie righthander made his Major League debut in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game with mixed results. Throwing pitches with speeds up to 100 miles per hour, Giles gave up a home run to Padres Yasmani Grandal, but then struck out with an 89-mile hour slider Alexi Amarista to end the game.
But while he’s enamored with his own velocity, Giles said his slider is most important pitch.

“If I get ahead in the count, it’s going to be a good wipe out pitch for me just to get it over with, shut ‘em on down and get them out early,” Giles said. “If I keep doing what I did today get ahead and throw that slider even if it’s in the dirt or for strikes, I’m going to do just fine.”

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is one hit away from tying Mike Schmidt’s career record for hits.


Off the DL: Halladay Has a Solid Outing in Phillies Win over Arizona

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday

Roy Halladay pitched well since going on the disabled list in May and earned his first win since April. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Roy Halladay pitched well since going on the disabled list in May and earned his first win since April. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—If you needed any indication that Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was back to his old self after spending most of the season the disabled list, all you needed to do was see the standing ovation he got from fans at Citizen’s Bank Park after he left the field in the sixth inning.

Halladay (3-4, 7.81 ERA) didn’t perform badly for a guy who got the call to pitch for the Phillies late Saturday night.  He was supposed to be pitching in a rehab assignment for the Phillies Double-A affiliate in Reading.

“I was half asleep. I was more than happy to come back,” said Halladay, who had shoulder surgery. “Hotel phone was going off, my cell phone was going off. Everything was ringing. I didn’t know what was going on. It took me a second to figure out what was going.”

Facing major league hitting for the first time since May, Halladay allowed just two runs on four hits in six innings of work with two strikeouts and two walks.  He said the velocity on his fastball, which was mostly in the high 80s, but got up to about 90-91 miles per hour, will eventually come, but he wants his other pitches such as his sinker or cutter to be effective as well.

“I’m going to continue to throw fast balls, but I need to show guys early in the count that I’m throw something soft and put as much in their minds as I can early,” Halladay said. “If I go out there and show them that I’m going to throw all fast balls, they’re going to be on it. I’m going to have mix and match and change speeds as much as possible.”

The Phillies offense Sunday helped Halladay by giving him a whole lot of run support and some spectacular plays in the field as the Phils came away with a 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Things started a little shaky for Halladay, who gave up two runs in the first two innings on an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly.  But after the second inning, Halladay settled down and didn’t allow a run for the remainder of the game.

The offense came through in a big way. They scored four runs in the first inning. Two of those came on an RBI double by third baseman Cody Asche. Left fielder Darin Ruf had a base loaded single that put the Phillies on the board.

John Mayberry Jr. added to the Phillies lead by blasting a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning. The Phillies added three more runs in the sixth to close out the scoring.

“We scored early and then in the middle and then late,” said interim manager Ryne Sandberg. “In our wins on the homestand here the guys are really coming through with clutch hits, situational hits and big hits with guys on base. I feel  like it’s getting contagious throughout the lineup now.”

Phillies newcomer Roger Bernadina had a couple spectacular plays in the field including robbing Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Davidson of a two-run homer  with a leaping catch at the wall. He also had a diving catch in the seventh inning that took away another hit from Arizona catcher Tuffy Gosewich.

“For a second I thought the ball was over my head,” Bernadina said. “I kept going when I crossed the warning track, I jumped and made a catch out of it.”

Added Halladay: “That was probably a game-changing play.”

For good measure, Bernadina was 1-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in.

Phillies Snap Three-Game Losing Streak Thanks to Good Pitching and Dr. Longball

By Chris Murray

For the Sunday Sun and the CM Report

Even though their record at home was just 12-19 coming into Tuesday’s game against a lackluster Colorado Rockies squad, the Phillies were in desperate need of a win desperate need of a win so they could avoid sinking further behind in the National League East, especially after last weekend’s sweep in Toronto.

The injury-riddled Phillies snapped their three-game losing streak and gave the sell-out crowd at Citizen’s Bank a reason to smile again by roughing up the Colorado Rockies in a 7-2 win that came courtesy of the long ball and the strong left arm of starting pitcher Cole Hamels.

Carlos Ruiz made a case for his possible selection to the 2012 All-Star game with a big night against the Rockies. He went 2-for-4 with a homerun and three runs batted in. Ruiz has a career-high nine homeruns. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Ruiz has been hitting well since spring training.

“From day one, he’s been hitting and he’s kept his swing,” Manuel said. “He got a little whack last week, but he’s worked his way out of it. I’d say he hit the ball pretty good (Tuesday) night. He’s been hitting ever since he reported to camp this year.”

The Phillies also got a big night from John Mayberry Jr. who was also 2-for-4 including a two-run homer that the team up for good. It was the third straight game that Mayberry, batting in the seventh spot, has hit a homerun. He is batting .381 over his last five games and has 11 RBI in his last six games.

“He’s one of those guys that build his confidence and when he’s hitting in a good groove, I’ll see how I can move him,” Manuel said when asked about Mayberry is batting in the lineup. “He’s starting to swing very good.On the road, he started swinging good and he followed it up today.”

Hamels (10-3) had one of his better outings in quite some time after struggling in his last four starts.. He went eight innings, struck out seven and allowed just two earned runs in six hits. After walking Rockies starting pitcher in the second inning, Hamels struck out the next five batters. It was smooth sailing for the Phillies lefty for the rest of the game.

“Being a pitcher that’s the one taboo that you don’t ever want to do and that’s walking the pitcher,” Hamels said after the game. “You definitely have to step up and beardown that’s kind of what had to tell myself is just to bear down more and know that I can throw strikes and get guys out.

“I was able to get it under control and get guys when I needed to.”

After the Rockies had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Tyler Colvin, the Phillies evened the game at a run apiece when Placido Polanco double to left that scored Jimmy Rollins, who walked to open the inning.

For the game, Rollins scored three runs, had a stolen base,was 2-for-2 and reached all four times he was at the plate.

“That was big, he ran real good,” Manuel said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him run in a while and that shows that his legs are strong. When he plays like that, he gives us a lift.”

The Phils upped the margin to 3-1 in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by left fielder John Mayberry Jr. to left field. The Rockies their second run of the game on an RBI single by Chris Nelson that scored first baseman Todd Helton.

The Phillies added another run in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Ruiz that plated Rollins. A ground out by Hunter Pence scored Hamels to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead in the seventh. Later in the inning, Ruiz’s two-run blast to left center put the game away for the Phillies.