Things were looking bleak as the Phillies limped into their weekend series with arch-rival New York Mets. The Phillies were sitting at 9-14 and 7.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves on Friday. They desperately needed to right the ship and get back on the winning track. The Phillies responded by doing just that, improving to 12-14 with 4.5 games separating them from the Braves who dropped a weekend series to the Detroit Tigers. After going 3 and 5 over the eight game home stand by splitting the series with the Cardinals and losing 3 out of 4 against NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates the Phillies got back on the winning track.
Kyle Kendrick was first up on Friday night; he proceeded to throw a complete game shutout scattering 3 hits (Watch video here). Dillon Gee went toe-to-toe with Kendrick for 5 innings by not allowing the Phillies to score either. They would get to Gee in the sixth with a Michael Young single (Watch video here) and a big 3-run homer from Ryan Howard (Watch video here). That was all Kendrick would need as he picked up his second win on the young season. Kyle has been the Phillies most consistent starting pitcher thus far pitching to a 2.41 ERA over 33 and 2/3 innings. The Phillies continued to step on the gas Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.
In front of a national audience on Saturday, the Phillies would improve to 11-14 by downing the Mets 9-4. Twenty-two year old Jonathan Pettibone picked up his first Major League victory pitching 5 innings and holding the Mets to only 3 runs. The Phillies used a 5 run fifth to distance themselves from the Mets to cruise down the stretch to the victory . Powered by back-to-back homeruns by Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. in the fifth (Video here), the Phillies jumped out to an 8-2 lead and never looked back. They tacked on a ninth run in the seventh on a two out single by Laynce Nix. Jeremy Horst allowed a homerun to John Buck in the ninth but the Phillies had won their third series of the year with just the Sunday matinee to stand between them and the sweep. April 28th also marked the return of Carlos “CHOOOOCH” Ruiz. Taking the mound for the Fightin’s would be Cole Hamels, who would be looking for his first win of the year.
Hamels was not as sharp as he would like to be but was able to only allow a first inning run on the only two hits he would give up (Hamels outing). He did walk six batters but was able to pitch out of trouble for six innings. After leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Phillies picked up their first run on a solo shot by Freddy Galvis on a 1-2 pitch against Mets starter Jon Niese, who pitched 6 and 2/3 strong innings giving up one earned run and two unearned. An error from Mets catcher John Buck on foul popup from pinch hitter Laynce Nix, that later led to a single to set up Ryan Howard to be the hero once again. After a single by Jimmy Rollins made it first and second with two outs, Terry Collins went to the pen and brought in Scott Atchison to face Kevin Frandsen. Charlie Manuel countered his move by bringing Ryan Howard in to pinch hit.
Howard would deliver a pinch hit two-run double that hit off the center field wall to score both Nix and Rollins (Video here). Chase Utley came up next and lined a single into left centerfield to score Howard. The Phillies added a fifth run in the eighth on a John Mayberry Jr. double. The bullpen took over in the seventh and Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to shut the door on the Mets allowing the Phillies to improve to 12-14 and climb into third place in the NL East. Up next for the Phillies after having Monday off is a two game trip to Cleveland for their second interleague series of the year, then it is back home for a quick four game home stand against the Miami Marlins. Winning the next two series’ is huge going forward because now they have the whole team back and should be able to string wins together and get the offensive production they need to contend with the Braves and Nationals.
Noteworthy: Carlos Ruiz went 1-4 with a double in his return on Sunday. Ryan Howard had a good series going 3 for 10 with a double, homerun, and 7 RBI bringing his total to 16 on the year. He is also in the midst of a ten game hitting streak where he is hitting .351 with 2 homeruns, 3 doubles, and 11 RBI. Michael Young continued to swing a hot bat with 8 hits in 11 at bats. He scored 3 runs, had 2 walks, and 1 RBI to continue to prove he is a good hitter. He may not have the extra base hits he has had in the past; he still has been very productive. He is now hitting .352 on the year with a .418 on base percentage which ranks him 6th in the National League. The offense definitely stepped it up this weekend versus the Mets. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to score runs for the starting pitchers who have been carrying the team as of late. I expect to see Delmon Young called up in time to DH for the Phillies in Cleveland. Ben Revere was nursing a sore leg and did not play in the Mets series at all. He may go on the DL if the Phillies think he needs more time to recover. If that is not the case, I expect Ezequiel Carrera to either be designated for assignment or sent to Lehigh Valley to make room for Young.
As always, keep Phighting!
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