Thursday, September 25, 2014

Game of the Day (9/24/14)

Phillies 2, Marlins 1. Miami's Brad Hand took on Philly's Kyle Kendrick. Hand is roughly the left-handed version of what Kendrick was six years ago - a young starter who's not yet proven that he's above average. Kendrick is now a recently-turned-30-year-old starter who is still trying to prove that he's above average.

Hand was perfect in the first, while Kendrick worked around a Donovan Solano double. Marlon Byrd singled in the top of the second, and Darin Ruf followed with a double, but Byrd was thrown out at home on the play. Hand stranded Ruf at third, and Kendrick set the Marlins down in order in the bottom of the inning. Kendrick singled in the top of the third, but was removed on a double play; Christian Yelich doubled in the bottom of the inning and was left at second.

Maikel Franco led off the top of the fourth with a single, and Chase Utley followed with a walk. Ryan Howard's groundout moved the runners to second and third, but Byrd lined into an inning-ending double play. Kendrick was spotless in the fourth, and Philly tried again in the fifth, loading the bases on a Wil Nieves HBP, a Kendrick single, and a Ben Revere walk, but Franco struck out to leave all three men on. Enrique Hernandez hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the fifth, but Kendrick retired the next two hitters, stranding him 90 feet away. Casey McGehee's single made him the only batter on either team to reach in the sixth.

The scoring opened in the top of the seventh, as Ruf walked and Kendrick doubled him home. Miami responded in the bottom of the inning on doubles by Garrett Jones and Hernandez; Jeff Mathis then walked, but Reed Johnson hit into a double play to end the inning. Chris Hatcher relieved Hand in the top of the eighth and allowed a single to Franco, then issued a one-out walk to Howard and served up a go-ahead RBI single to Byrd. AJ Ramos was called to the mound at that point and managed to end the inning without further scoring, though he did allow a walk and thus had to leave the bases loaded.

And that was it for the scoring, Ken Giles was flawless in the bottom of the eighth. Carter Capps allowed a Carlos Ruiz single and hit Revere with a pitch in the ninth, but Franco bunted into a force and Utley grounded into a double play. Jones hit a one-out double against Jonathan Papelbon in the home ninth, but the Philly closer recovered to strand him at second, ending the game.

Brad Hand pitched seven very capable innings in this game, allowing only 6 hits, 3 walks, and a lone run. His effort would have been even better if not for his nemesis of the moment - the opposing pitcher. Kyle Kendrick had the first three-hit game of his career, and threw in a double that drove in the first run of the game, and did so while matching Hand's 7-inning, 6-hit, one-run output on the mound. That's quite a day on both sides of the ball.

It's also not entirely unexpected. Not because Kendrick is a particularly exemplary hitter (or pitcher), but because this was a Phillies-Marlins game, and in 2014, crazy things have happened in Phillies-Marlins games. The two squads are sitting in second and third in the seasonal excitement race, and just about every time they've faced off, sparks have flown. A pitcher driving in as many runs as he allows, and being his team's best hitter in the game? Par for the course.

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