(Photo: Philliedelphia/Steve Trapani)
The Phils are 7-9 on the year. My panic level? Not so high, it's only April and there are still five months of baseball to play. My frustration level? Through the freakin' roof. Watching this team play over the past two weeks has been absolute torture. They can't hit to save their lives, not one player has over 10 RBIs and the entire team together has a .283 on-base percentage, .317 slugging percentage and 2.69 runs per game average. Now with Cliff Lee on the DL, it's only going to burry our heads in the ground even more. It's been an ugly start to the season, but no. I'm not panicking just yet.
Tonight, Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 1.93 ERA) will make his first start of the season, a spot start, against the Arizona D-backs. Kendrick has made four relief appearances this season, three of which are scoreless outings. With Cliff Lee out with a oblique strain, Charlie Manuel feels Kendrick is ready and capable to fulfill the void until Lee comes back.
"I feel comfortable with Kendrick," Manuel said. "We've got the pitching to offset that. I've got a feeling [Lee] won't be out very long. When his time's up, he's going to be back."
However long that is, we don't know. Cliff Lee says he feels like he won't be out too long, but you never know. Kendrick started 15 games last season, posting an 8-6 record with a 3.22 ERA. In his career, he has pitched over 25 innings against the D-backs, ammounting a 0-0 record with a 4.56 ERA.
The struggling Phillies bats will take on lefty Wade Miley (1-0, 3.12 ERA), who is also making a spot start for one of the D-backs' starters. Miley, a reliever, will be filling in for Daniel Hudson, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder impingement. Miley has tossed over 8 innings in three relief appearances this season and has had success. In his last appearance, Miley allowed three earned runs on five hits through 1 1/3 inning. Although Miley has never pitched against the Phillies as a team, he has faced Ty Wigginton, who has owns a .167 batting average against him.
The Phillies will seriously need to hit tonight. You never know what kind of Kyle Kendrick you will get. You could get the fantastic, seven-inning shutout Kendrick or you could get the Kendrick that gets shelled through three innings of work. No matter what Kyle Kendrick shows up tonight, his offense will need to work itsself out of what ever hole they've dug themselves deep in and start hitting the ball.
Charlie Manuel feels that this team is just going through a test.
"This is a test. We have to stay with it and come and get them." Charlie said. "It's a test for the manager, the coaching staff and the players. It's a test for everybody. I see guys I think are trying too hard. They just need to relax and play like we can. It gets back to our philosophy. We need to be tension-free, relaxed and play the game because we want to -- not because we have to. Definitely don't try to do too much. If you're pressing, just relax. Do the best you possibly can."
I hope you're right, Charlie.
Breaking News: Hunter Pence will sit out with a sore left shoulder. Pence says his shoulder is sore from diving in the third inning of yesterday's game. There is no word on the severity of his injury, but don't count on Charlie using him off the bench tonight.
Tonight's lineup @ Arizona:
- Pierre LF
- Polly 3B
- J-Roll SS
- Wiggy 1B
- Victorino CF
- Chooch C
- Mayberry RF
- Galvis 2B
- Kendrick P.
You can watch tonight's game on TCN.
Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. Contact him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.