Don't look now but the Phillies are three games back in the NL East. They'll hand the ball to Kyle Kendrick to complete the sweep of the White Sox, and hope Chase Utley and the offense keeps pouring it on.
No disrespect to Cole Hamels, who’s making excellence routine. The top story this morning is a Phillies’ offense firing on all cylinders. Utley has been tremendous. He went 3-for-3 with a tape measure job and has nine RBIs over his last 10. His swing is a beautiful thing. When Utley’s on, he can carry them, but others have also stepped up. Ryan Howard is back in form. Pat Burrell is knocking in some runs again, starting a first-inning rally last night with a bases-loaded walk.
The difference might be Greg Dobbs, starting regularly at third against righties. Dobbs knocked in a pair in the first inning, making it 27 RBIs in 116 just ABs on the season. Plugging Dobbs into the lineup gives them a nice right/left mix and another weapon near the bottom of the order. If you subscribe to the "set ‘em and forget ‘em" philosophy at catcher, the Phils’ left-handed lineup is one of the most complete sets in the National League.
Condrey outrighted: To make room for Kendrick on the 25 and 40-man rosters, the Phillies outrighted reliever Clay Condrey to Triple-A Ottawa. Condrey, who posted a 9.00 ERA in 12 games, accepted the assignment despite having a right to refuse. The 31-year-old right-hander was victimized by a number of horrific outings, including a six-run meltdown in a sloppy game against Toronto. He saved his best for last however, pitching 3 1-3 shutout innings Friday in Kansas City.
Mets slumping: The division-leading Mets have lost eight of their last nine games after a 4-1 loss to the Dodgers. Matthew Cerrone, author of Metsblog, indicated it was another night of big swings, poor throws and stranded runners. John Maine allowed back-to-back-to-back jacks, including one to pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo. He’s also concerned that reliever Joe Smith is no longer thowing his slider for strikes. Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings blames their slump on a reduced BB/AB ratio, especially the heart of the order, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. Since June 2, they have combined for just two walks, Pinto writes.
Today’s matchup: John Danks (3-6, 4.38 ERA) goes for the White Sox. He has struggled in his last three starts, going 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA. Kendrick, of course, is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
Lineups are set: Phillies go with right-handed hitters today, including Wes Helms and Jayson Werth, and will not start Dobbs, as was first reported. [Live Boxscore]