The Phillies defeated the Colorado Rockies 9-5 to start the first game of their seven game road trip with a victory. Rudy Seanez picked up the win in relief, and Taylor Buchholtz took the loss for Colorado.
For the second consecutive game, the late innings proved difficult for the Rockies as the Phils put up five runs over the game’s final two innings. Buchholtz retired the first two hitters before Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell hist back to back singles to right. After walking Pedro Feliz to load the bases, Buchholtz was lifted for Brian Fuentes. Fuentes allowed a single that scored Howard and Burrell to the first batter he faced, Carlos Ruiz, before getting out of the inning.
The Phillies tacked on three more runs in the ninth against Micah Bowie. Bowie allowed the first three hitters to reach base with a single, hit batter, and double. All three scored when T.J. Bohn doubled down the left field line and gave the Phils a 9-5 lead. Bohn was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday when Jimmy Rollins was placed on the 15-day Disabled List.
Chase Utley continued his torrid home run pace, hittting a solo home run in the sixth inning. It was Utley's sixth homer in the last five games and his fifth consecutive game with home run.
The Phillies needed five run s over the last two innings because of a poor outing from starter Kyle Kendrick. The young right-hander allowed five runs in his five innings pitched. Kendrick gave up two home runs that accounted for all five runs, but was in constant trouble.
Despite only allowing the three-run homer to Yorvit Torrealba in the second and a two run homer to Garrett Atkins in the fifth, Kendrick allowed base runners in every inning. The Rockies had runners in scoring position in every inning but the first against Kendrick, but failed to convert as they left five runners on base over the first five innings.
Kendrick needs to start pitching well consistently, and be a middle of the rotation question mark for manager Charlie Manuel and his teammates. Kendrick looms large as Manuel seeks to not overwork his bullpen throughout the season. Kendrick can either be a pitcher who can provide the Phillies with a tough five or six innings, or he can be a guy who lasts two innings. He needs to be consistent with his command in order to be the former. Consistent command will allow him to rekindle the success he experienced last year, while inconsistency will make him this year’s version of Adam Eaton from last season.
In baseball, inconsistency leads to mediocrity and this team has been consistently inconsistent through the first 20 games. Not surprisingly, they are 10-10, and have failed to break the .500 mark every time they have reached it over the first month.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the Phillies take the field on Tuesday night as they seek to climb above .500. Will they sink back into a chasm or rise to the occasion?
Only time will tell.
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