With 13 All-Star appearances, three Cy Young Awards and three
postseason series MVPs, the first four members of the Philadelphia
Phillies’ rotation make it rather easy to overlook any other
Don’t expect the Pittsburgh Pirates to discount Kyle
Kendrick has won all four career starts against Pittsburgh, an
outcome the Pirates hope to change when they look to deal the
visiting Phillies a fourth consecutive loss Saturday night.
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels give
Philadelphia (34-23) baseball’s most feared rotation, and Hamels
has been better than anyone lately.
The left-hander pitched well enough to win his fourth
consecutive start Friday, allowing one hit and a run over eight
innings, but the Phillies’ offense couldn’t give Hamels a lift.
Jose Tabata’s 12th-inning single drove in Xavier Paul to give the
Pirates a 2-1 win.
“When you play teams like that, you want to go out there and
prove a point,” Paul said. “Make a statement that we can play with
The Phillies were held to one run or fewer for the second
straight game and 12th time this season – even in their first game
with their regular lineup in 2011.
“I think this lineup is going to hit,” manager Charlie Manuel
said. “It has to hit. I’ve got confidence in those guys
Manuel should feel confident in his mound presence Saturday,
even in a fill-in effort. With Joe Blanton injured and Vance Worley
back in the minor leagues to work on his command, Kendrick (3-3,
3.18 ERA) will make his third start.
The right-hander has had mixed results in the first two,
pitching five scoreless innings in a win over Atlanta on May 7 but
surrendering five runs in three innings in a loss to Colorado on
There’s been nothing mediocre about Kendrick’s previous work
against Pittsburgh, though, as he’s posted a 2.61 ERA and lasted at
least seven innings in each of his four starts.
Kendrick’s last trip to PNC Park produced his lone career
complete game, a 12-4 victory July 3.
Philadelphia scored 12 runs in both of Kendrick’s wins over the
Pirates (27-29) last season, but it’ll be hard-pressed to do much
offensively against Charlie Morton (5-2, 2.51).
The right-hander, who leads the majors with a 78.2 ground-ball
percentage thanks to a devastating sinker, has a 1.21 ERA in his
last four starts and right-handers are hitting .190 against him
Morton got plenty of ground balls Monday against the Mets, but
New York managed to find some holes. Three of the 11 hits he gave
up were infield singles, leading to three runs – one earned –
before leaving without a decision in a 7-3 loss. That was still
enough to impress Mets manager Terry Collins.
“Morton lived up to everything I’ve heard about him and saw
about him,” Collins said. “That is as good a sinker as I’ve seen in
a long time.”
Morton is certainly a better pitcher than the one who went 2-12
with a 7.57 ERA last season, and he’ll hope that leads to improved
results versus Philadelphia. He’s 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA in three
career starts against the Phillies, and Jimmy Rollins is 5 for 7 in
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez are a combined 3 for 15
against Morton, but they might find better luck Saturday. While
Morton has thrived getting right-handers out, lefties are batting
.347 against him.