It been a problem from the start. Pitching is what was supposed to win this team games. Pitching is exactly what has cost them so many games.
Tonight, it was on full display.
The Phillies had some fight, rallying back from what seemed to be an insurmountable deficit. But the usual suspects on the mound failed miserably again, and doomed the Phillies in their quest for their third-straight series.
Jimmy Rollins got the scoring started right away by lining the first pitch from Tim Hudson into the seats in right for a solo home run. It was his 40th career lead-off home run and 13th home run of the season.
But the Braves answered back in the second. A pair of one-out baserunners in scoring position would put Kyle Kendrick in a jam. He got the second out of the inning on an RBI groundout by David Ross. But Kendrick unintentionally gave a free pass to Paul Janish to get to the pitcher Hudson, who made him pay with a two-run double. Michael Bourn followed with a walk and Hudson scored on an RBI single by Martin Prado.
Kendrick threw 50 pitches in the second inning alone, allowing four runs.
In the fourth, the Braves added to their lead when Bourn blasted a two-run shot to right-center. That ended Kendrick’s night, as he allowed six runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out one in 3 1/3 innings.
While Raul Valdes kept the score where it was, the Phillies started to trim the lead in the fifth. An RBI double by Rollins scored the Phillies’ second run of the game. Domonic Brown hustled out an RBI double to follow, making it 6-3. After a Chase Utley hit kept the inning going, Ryan Howard made it a brand new ballgame by blasted a three-run home run to tie things up.
But after a scoreless inning from Michael Schwimer, the Phillies’ bullpen imploded. Antonio Bastardo retired the first two batters of the seventh before allowing a double to Jason Heyward and intentionally walking Chipper Jones. Freddie Freeman was up next and took a 2-2 pitch that appeared to catch the outside corner but was called a ball. Freeman walked and Bastardo was pulled for Josh Lindblom.
Lindblom’s first batter was Dan Uggla, who had been struggling, but broke through by lining a ball just fair down the left field line. Three runs scored on the play. Another run would score on an error to cap the second four-run inning for the Braves in the game.
Two more runs would score off Lindblom and Jeremy Horst in the eighth. The Phillies couldn’t manage much more off the Braves’ bullpen, and dropped the game by a score of 12-6.
Once again, the Phillies put on a miserable pitching show. Kyle Kendrick may have lost his last chance to be a regular part of the rotation. After succeeding in the bullpen, Kendrick filled in for Joe Blanton after he was suddenly traded last Friday valiantly for short notice. Tonight, he lacked all command and location.
The Phillies made it interesting with a five-run fifth, but the bullpen failed this team again. If anything, this was a night to see where the Phillies are severely flawed. They need relief pitching help. They need the starting pitching to recover from a sub-par year all around. They need more offense to balance out the lineup.
Thankfully, after this debacle of a game, the Phillies are off tomorrow. They return to action on Friday where the opponents don’t get any easier. They host the St. Louis Cardinals in a weekend series.
L: Antonio Bastardo (2-4)