After a rough four game series coming out of the All Star break vs. the Chicago Cubs, the Phillies needed a spark. It wasn’t found tonight in St. Louis, however, despite a promising start from Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies offense early on in the game.
After four solid innings, it looked as though Kendrick was going to have one of those starts no one expected. You know, one where he goes seven or eight innings and gives up 1-3 runs. The Cardinals were able to tag Kendrick for 5 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to squash any hope for the Phils and their fans that the team could emerge from their latest funk.
Four of those runs in the inning were off of homeruns hit by Albert Pujols, Allen Craig (his first career homerun), and Skip Schumaker. Kendrick’s line ended after five innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits and three walks.
The Phillies’ offense was able to get to Cardinals starter Blake Hawksworth early in the game, scoring three runs in the 1st inning. Ryan Howard drove in recently reactivated Placido Polanco with a double to right field, and moved Raul Ibanez to third base. After a pop out to first by Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino drove in both Howard and Ibanez with a single to center.
In the top of the fourth inning, Jimmy Rollins was able to drive in Carlos Ruiz, who doubled earlier, with another single to center field to make it a 4-2 ballgame. It would be downhill for the Phightins’ from that point forward.
After the fateful fifth inning for Kendrick, Randy Winn blasted a solo homerun to the Cardinals bullpen in right field to make it an 8-4 game.
The Phillies did threaten in the top of the 7th inning, with both Howard and Werth hitting consecutive two-out singles. But with runners on first and third, Shane Victorino swung at the first pitch from Cards’ reliever Jason Motte and hit it foul to catcher Yadier Molina to end the inning.
The 180 degree turnaround from the Cincinnatti series, which they swept the then first-place Reds during the four game series, has been sobering for the team and fanbase. If the team cannot get something going during the rest of the series vs. the Cardinals, or against the Colorado Rockies who come to Philadelphia for another four-game series beginning on Friday, they could very well get buried in the standings before the trade deadline. If that were to happen, it’s certainly conceivable that the front office would listen to some more serious offers for trades involving Werth and bringing up Dominic Brown to give the youngster some big league experience before becoming the full time starter in 2011.