Following last night's doubleheader sweep, the Phillies sit just six games behind in the NL Wild Card race. Entering tonight's game, they are tied with the Brewers in the standings, both sporting 69-71 records. If the Phillies can get a jump on the Marlins tonight, they could be as far as 5 games out of the Wild Card standings. With 22 games left in the season, there's no reason to give up yet. Kyle Kendrick (8-10, 3.96 ERA) will take on lefty Wade LeBlanc (2-3, 2.72 ERA) in tonight's series opener.
Kyle Kendrick's last start didn't go exactly as planned. Headed into Tuesday's matchup against the Reds, Kendrick had won four straight decisions as well as posting a 1.23 ERA in as many starts. It was just one of those games where a single run made the difference. Kendrick tossed five scoreless innings before surrendering a two-run shot to Jay Bruce. Kendrick finished the game with six innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three. He took the loss, his first since August third. Tonight, Kendrick will take on the team he started his streak against. On August 14, Kendrick tossed seven scoreless innings against the Marlins, striking out six to get the win. In his career, Kendrick is 9-2 with a 3.92 ERA against the Marlins.
Wade LeBlanc made his Marlins debut on July 3rd, but didn't make his first Marlins start until August 1st against the Braves. After taking Carlos Zambrano's spot in the rotation a month ago, LeBlanc has productive on the hill. In six starts this season, LeBlanc is 1-2 with a 3.53 ERA. After two relief appearances to end the month of August, LeBlanc once again took the hill for the Marlins to start. On Tuesday, against the Brewers, LeBlanc was tagged for three earned on five hits over six innings. Despite earning the quality start, LeBlanc was denied the win. In his career against the Phillies, LeBlanc is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA.
After being called up yesterday, Darin Ruf is not in tonight's starting lineup, but he will be available to pinch hit for that kind of situation tonight. Ruf slammed 38 home runs in the regular season, as well as hitting .317 for Double-A Reading. Although the Reading Phils were eliminated by Trenton last night, Ruf did crank out his last home run of the season (so far). Totaling for 39 home runs, there's no doubt in the world that this kid can hit. The only thing is he has never seen major league pitchers and it's not safe to call him a phenom until he can prove he can hit up in the bigs.
Tonight's lineup vs Miami:
- Rollins SS
- Mayberry Jr. CF
- Utley 2B
- Howard 1B
- Wigginton LF
- Brown RF
- Kratz C
- Martinez 3B
- Kendrick P.
TV: CSN ; Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP.
Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.