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725-game-thread-time-to-face-the-phillies-whom-we-seem-unable-to-beat | July | 2008 Articles

2008 Archives

7/25 Game Thread: Time to Face the Phillies, Whom We Seem Unable to Beat

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Again, this isn't a reverse jinx. No need: the Braves are 1-8 against the Phillies this year, including two outright sweeps. They've outscored us 51-27 in our games against them. They're 54-48 while we're 48-53, so they've clearly played better than we have this year, but when we face them they've utterly dominated us. Tonight the edge shouldn't be quite as profound, as we'll pitch Jair Jurrjens against Kyle Kendrick. Jurrjens is a strong Rookie of the Year candidate, who has improbably -- albeit perhaps a bit flukily -- become one of the top starters in the league in his first full season. Meanwhile, Kendrick is a #3 starter with a 4.87 ERA, mainly distinguishable from the rest of the Phillies starters by his being neither as terrible as Myers and Eaton nor being remotely good. (Considering his awful 49/33 K/BB in 109 innings, to go along with 15 homers, it's remarkable he's been able to keep his ERA under 5.) However, Jair got knocked around by the Washington Nationals in his last start, giving up 8 hits and 5 runs in 6 1/3 innings. It's heartening that even when he gives up runs, he's able to go deep into games -- he hasn't pitched fewer than 6 innings since May 31 -- but it's discouraging to watch him get knocked around by the worst team in the league. His last start against the Phillies was a little better, July 3, when he gave up 8 hits and 4 runs in 7 innings, 3 of the runs coming on 2 homers. As with the Marlins, the longball is a constant threat with these guys, since they're second only to the Marlins in team homers in all of baseball. Kendrick has actually been remarkably consistent in his five starts against the Braves. He goes 5 or 6 innings, gives up 6 or 7 hits, 2 or 3 runs, gets two or three strikeouts, and walks several. (Total: 5 starts, 28 1/3 innings, 29 H, 13 R, 12 BB, 11 K.) However, especially thanks to the success of the improbably lights-out Philadelphia bullpen this year, that run of consistent mediocrity has netted him a career 3-0 record against us. 13 runs on 29 hits and 12 walks isn't much to be proud of, and if recent history is any guide, we'll be leaving quite a few on base tonight too. Kendrick is eminently hittable, and he gives up some free passes too, so it's not like we'll only have one chance to score. (Memo to Bobby: that means don't bunt, dummy.) If we don't give up outs, we won't get blanked, but we'd better get some runs before they go to the pen. And Jair's going to have to avoid the longball and stay out of jams, because their lineup is murder if you let up. And we're 1-8 against them for a reason. They're a good team.

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