When all else fails, things seem like they can’t get any worse, and all you need is that one spark plug to get the team going, who do you call on?
How about Kyle Kendrick and Brian Schneider (shudder)?
Kendrick pitched 6.2 innings of one run baseball against the Reds in the Phillies 4-3 win on Thursday night. After giving up a first inning DEEP homerun to Joey Votto, Kyle settled down to allow just 2 more during the rest of his outing. He was taken out in the 7th because he had already thrown 122 pitches at that point.
This was supposed to be a laugher for the Reds, who were sending their ace Johnny Cueto to the mound with his shiny 8-2 record and mid-three’s ERA. But after Kendrick gave up Votto’s solo homer in the top of the 1st, Cueto promptly served up a dinger to Shane Victorino in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the third, Jimmy Rollins drew a walk with two outs. Victorino folllowed him with an infield single, during which he collided with Cueto at first base, knocking the ball and glove off of his hand. After Shane mistakenly rounded first to go to second base, Votto again tried to throw him out at first with Cueto covering without a glove. The ball popped out of Cueto’s bare hands and Shane was safe at first, all the while Jimmy scored to make it a 2-1 game.
Ryan Madsen came back for his first game since late April after a long stint on the disabled list… and promptly blew the lead by throwing a third-strike wild pitch to Brandon Phillips with runners on 1st and 2nd base. If that wasn’t enough, he inexplicably ran past homeplate to help catcher Brian Schneider get the ball. It was very nice of Madsen to try to help out his catcher, but unfortunately he left home plate open which allowed Drew Stubbs to come in and score easily for the Reds to make it a 2-2 game in the eighth inning.
After Rollins brought in Wilson Valdez on a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-2 Phils lead in the bottom of the eighth, all seemed right in the world. Then everyone remembered that Lidge would be coming in for the save. Well, Brad didn’t disappoint by allowed a game-tying double to Miguel Cairo (how come he never did that for us?) to make it a 3-3 game in the top of the 9th.
After 3 full extra innings, relief finally came in the form of a Brian Schneider walk-off in the bottom of the 12th inning.
While a win is certainly a win, and very much needed these days, it’s disconcerting to watch both Madsen and Lidge blow one-run leads in the same game. Especially in a game of this magnitude when the team is trying to get their bearings straight after 6 of their last 8 games coming in to last night.
With All-Star game coming up, the focus turns to the trade deadline on July 31st. The attention and priority to this point has been getting a starting pitcher to add to the rotation. Aside from Big Joe, who on the Phillies staff would you want them to replace? The Phillies do not have the prospects to get a Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt, and would they really want a guy like Dan Haren who melts like a quart of Ben & Jerry’s in the Arizona sun every second half?
How about getting a reliever who can actually hold a lead, and a bench player who can bat above .225? That would be nice.