The beatdown of the lowly Nationals continued, but not before a packed house got to see some of the worst starting pitching they’ll ever experience.
What can you say about Kyle Kendrick? There’s just not enough there. Don’t know that I’ve seen a pitcher look less comfortable up 0-2 in the count. There’s nothing in his bag of tricks capable of keeping a lefty at bay. Adam Kennedy’s bases-clearing double in the first came off the “out-pitch” change-up we’d been hearing about, the one he worked on last season in Triple-A. It was a brutal, brutal thing to behold, the kind of pitch hitters dream about, the kind rarely seen above Double-A. He’s afraid to pitch to contact, too, which was never the case in 2007. Maybe it’s time to get back to basics with the sinker and focus on moving the fastball in and out of the zone. It worked in the past. Thing is, Kendrick could be out of chances. The Phillies have the option of skipping over Kendrick’s turn and starting J.A. Happ on normal rest Tuesday at Atlanta. That means Kendrick’s turn won’t come until sometime next weekend, which could allow enough time for Joe Blanton to get back on his feet. Plus, Nelson Figueroa has made a compelling case.
Saving Kendrick from total humiliation was the fact that Craig Stammen was even worse. Loved the part where the pitching coach came out for the second time to settle down his pitcher after Polanco jerked a double to left, then Stammen immediately grooved a fastball right into Chase Utley’s wheelhouse. Wham. Was that the plan?
Beggars can’t be chossers when your team is 7-1, which ties a franchise record. They’re doing exactly what they have to do against an inferior team, thanks in large part to big nights by Utley and Shane Victorino, who combined for three homers and nine RBIs. But I’ll be anxious to close the curtain on Washington for a while and see stiffs like Stammen, Jason Bergmann and Tyler Clippard exit stage right.
“Victorio had nearly as many base hits tonight (4) as he has had all season (4) and saw more pitches (29 in 5 ABs) than he had in the past 2 games (23 pitches in 8 ABs). Just looked much more comfortable at the top of the lineup. ... Chicks and fans may dig the long ball but it is the bullpen that has been the bedrock o this team in the early going especially with the lousy starting pitching they have gotten except Halladay. Nats lousy bullpen bleed oil all night long.” – MG