Joe Blanton (7-6, 5.00) and the Phillies go for seven in a row this afternoon against rookie right-hander Yunesky Maya (0-2, 6.55) and the Nationals. First pitch is 1:35, with the Braves and Mets getting underway at 1:10.
Kendrick: Ryan Howard set a franchise record with five straight seasons with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs, while Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez also homered in Saturday's 5-2 victory. Ibanez and Wilson Valdez collected three hits as the Phillies continue to spread their production evenly this September. They've also capitalized on a run of lousy opposing pitching. As a group, they haven't smoked the ball this well since the opening weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Kyle Kendrick overcame an iffy first and fat pitch and survived six innings, allowing a pair of runs. It's time to regard Kendrick's season as a success rather than a failure. The 26-year-old right-hander fought to win back his job in spring training, has started 29 games (169 1-3 innings) and has collected 10 wins, just as many as Tommy Hanson and more than Ted Lilly and a number of others. Granted, he's received the fifth-highest run support in the league, but still. Someone had pitch those innings. Better an internal option like Kendrick, with his 4.78 ERA, than an expensive veteran equivalent. He's a flawed, but adequate fifth starter for this team. If after four seasons Vance Worley is 34-23 with a 4.71 ERA like Kendrick, I'll eat my hat.
Hamels benefiting from performance specialist: CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury is the first to reveal Cole Hamels' secret weapon: a San Diego-based sports psychologist who's helped the left-hander get his mojo back. Read Salisbury's full article here before Fox and ESPN recycle it.
Lakewood wins Sally League title: Congratulations to the low-A Lakewood BlueClaws who beat Greenville 4-2 on Saturday afternoon to clinch their second straight South Atlantic League title. The BlueClaws have won three titles in the last five years. The Phillies Gulf Coast League team also won their league championship earlier this month.