Philly Sports Live

Disappointing End to Strong Road Trip

The Phillies embarked on a seven game road trip with their season hanging in the balance last Monday. Seven games against the Atlanta Braves & St. Louis Cardinals seemed to spell trouble for a team that still has yet to win consistently in 2014. This measuring stick of a trip saw the Phils find their stroke offensively, constantly jumping ahead to early leads. The pitching has been great on the trip, with all five starters contributing quality starts along with strong finishes by the bullpen.

They would sweep their division rival Braves and take the first two in St. Lou before having their five game winning streak halted on Saturday night. Today they looked to finish strong with Kyle Kendrick on the hill.

The Phillies again struck first with a big second inning. They quickly loaded the bases thanks to a single from Ryan Howard, John Mayberry Jr. being hit by a pitch, and a Dom Brown walk. Cody Asche, recently off the disabled list, came through with a bases clearing double to left center-field to give his team a 3-0 advantage. Great as that was, Asche would be stranded on the bases. What’s worse, the Phillies would not score again, and did not record another hit until the ninth inning.

Kendrick ran into trouble in the fourth, after allowing a lead-off double to Matt Adams. He then walked Allen Craig, then allowed a single to Yadier Molina to load ’em up. John Jay then singled to bring Adams home and reload the bases with one out. Jhonny Peralta then tied the game with a single to center-field. Craig & Molina scored, leaving Jay at third and Peralta on first.

Cardinals’ second baseman Mark Ellis then bunted sharply down the first base line and was tagged out by a diving Howard. Jay scored to give the Cardinals a 4-3 lead. The Cards tacked on a fifth run in the sixth, and the final score was 5-3.

Kendrick’s bad fourth inning cost him the game, as he finished with six innings pitched, five runs allowed on eight hits and one walk. He did not allow a hit until the third inning, but could not recover after loading the bases in the fourth.

The Cardinals’ 12 hits were a series high, as they had a total of 16 hits in the first three games combined.

The Phillies finished the road trip 5-2, all five wins against teams near the top of their respective divisions. Impressive as their performance was, a few more hits here or there and they could have won both series.

There should be no easing up as the Phillies head home for a series against Miami starting tomorrow, nor should there be satisfaction. This team is five games out of first place, not out of the race by any means.

Still, the questions remain. Will they be competitive? Or will they stay stuck in mediocrity and let the division slowly slip further away?

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