After pitching decently to start the game last night, Kyle Kendrick got lit up by the Cardinals with 3 home runs in one inning. For that performance, Kendrick was rewarded with a trip up the Northeast Extension to Lehigh Valley. The Phillies called up Andrew Carpenter to replace Kendrick on the roster. Carpenter is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts this season with the IronPigs, but he may not be in Philly for long.
J.A. Happ has been rehabbing in the minors for what seems like forever at this point. He’s scheduled to pitch tonight, but he could be scratched to take Kendrick’s spot in the rotation on Saturday, while Carpenter keeps the seat warm for a few days. A small possibility, but it could happen.
While the pitching hasn’t been lights out this season, it hasn’t been the reason for the struggles that the Phillies are going through right now. The offense has been downright terrible. If he got a little run support, Roy Halladay would easily have 15 wins right now.
There should be some help coming though. Placido Polanco being back is big, but Chase Utley is still a ways away from coming back. Those were two huge holes in the Phillies’ offense the past few weeks.
The ESPN broadcasters mentioned the fact that, including last night’s game, Charlie Manual has only been able to fill out his lineup card with the 8 regulars (Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polance, Ibanez, Victorino, & Werth) 9 times this season. The fact that the Fightins are only 3 games back in the Wild Card race right now should be seen as a minor miracle.
While the Phillies’s struggles aren’t something we’ve seen in the past few years, we all have to remember that it’s the middle of July. Still a lot of baseball to play. The division may be out of reach, (I still think the Braves will come back to Earth in a big way) the Wild Card is right there.
The Phillies are a traditional second half team, especially with Ryan Howard starting to heat up. Getting Utley & Polanco back will be like making two huge trades for offensive help. They could still use some help in spots, but I have a feeling that nothing major will be changed.
This team was damn good in the first few weeks of the season, and if/when everyone is back and healthy, they still have what is needed to win the NL East for the 3rd straight year.