The Phillies were unable to win this series last night as they fell to the Pirates, 11-7. Although they won the first two games of the series, they are still looking for a series win. In this afternoon's matinée, Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.24 ERA) and A.J. Burnett (8-2, 3.24 ERA) will go head to head. Burnett will look to continue his dominance on the mound for a series split while Kendrick will aim to break out of his struggling stretch and give the Phillies a series victory.
Kendrick has struggled tremendously over his past four starts, owning an 8.10 ERA in 22 innings pitched. In his last start, on Saturday against Tampa Bay, Kendrick lasted just four innings against the Rays, allowing two earned on six hits while striking out six and walking three. Kendrick took the n0-decision in the Phillies' 7-6 win. Kendrick has allowed 18 earned runs over his past four starts and has walked 12 batters. Kendrick will look to improve and turn around his slumpish play today against the Pirates. Making relief appearances on both April 7 and 8, Kendrick pitched 1 1/3 innings against the Pirates allowing an earned run and a hit in those two outings. In his career, Kendrick is 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA.
Opposing Kendrick and the Phillies will be A.J. Burnett, who is aiming for his eighth consecutive winning start. Burnett got off to a slow start this season, but as of late he has been dominant. In the month of June, Burnett has a 4-0 record and a 2.52 ERA. In Burnett's last start, on Friday against Detroit, he tossed six shut out innings, allowing just two hits while striking out four. Despite being dominant, mostly at PNC Park, Burnett has allowed five home runs in 26 1/3 innings on the road. In his career (100 innings pitched), Burnett holds a 5-9 record and a 5.13 ERA against the Phillies.
You can really blame last night's loss on the Phillies bullpen, it was they who pitched the entire game. The Phillies crossed the plate seven times on 10 hits. Chase Utley went 3 for 5 with a home run last night, but he is not going to be in today's lineup. Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins remained hot with the bat. If Kendrick can keep the run limit against the Pirates down today and the Phillies can score enough runs, they should have no problem taking this game. But then there's a problem with the bullpen. Maybe a couple moves could help?
Today's lineup vs Pittsburgh:
- Jimmy Rollins SS
- Juan Pierre LF
- Shane Victorino CF
- Hunter Pence RF
- Placido Polanco 3B
- Ty Wigginton 1B
- Mike Fontenot 2B
- Erik Kratz C
- Kyle Kendrick P.
TV: CSN ; Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP
Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.