Memo to the seventeen fans who actually go to Marlins' games in Miami: We know how it feels to squander scoring opportunities.
The Marlins had plenty of base runners against Kyle Kendrick last night, nine in six innings to be exact, but the young right hander managed to avoid any damage thanks in part to good fielding, timely strikeouts and Florida's lack of clutch hitting. In the end, Kendrick and the bullpen shut the Marlins down as the Phils won 5-0 to increase their lead in the NL East over both the Fish and the Mets, who also lost.
With few exceptions, Kendrick always manages to keep his team in the game, something that cannot be said for a few of the more seasoned starters on this staff. Since being called up from AA Reading last mid-season, Kendrick has compiled a 20-9 record. Not bad for a kid who came out of nowhere, wasn't the most highly rated hurler in the Phillies minor league system, and has one pitch (the sinker) he relies on.
The biggest surprise of the night was watching Charlie Manuel summon Ryan Madson to pitch the ninth inning. Madson has been dreadful lately but Manuel was loathe to use Brad Lidge in a non-save situation given how much work the Phils regular closer has put in of late. Madson came through with a stellar ninth, throwing six pitches...all for strikes.
Today Cole Hamels tries to right his own little personal ship after two straight poor outings. It's safe to say this is a very big start for Hamels and the Phils. A vicrtory today enables the Phils to win their first series against their biggest competitors - Florida and New York -- in the last several meetings and gets their putative ace back on track.