The first series of the Philadelphia Phillies’ West Coast road trip couldn’t have gone much worse for the defending NL East champions. Though his team still hasn’t regained its form at the plate, manager Charlie Manuel has to be happy that it’s back in the win column.
The Phillies look to build on their first win of the trip and make a move on the division lead as they continue a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night at Petco Park.
Philadelphia (65-57) entered this seven-game road trip with a two-game lead over the New York Mets in the NL East. Four straight losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers, however, put the Phillies in second place and prompted Manuel to tell the team’s official Web site, “If we get down and we don’t come back, we’re not champions and we’re not men.”
The Phillies responded Friday night, when they snapped their longest losing streak in nearly two months by edging the Padres 1-0 on Pat Burrell’s seventh-inning homer.
“I just happen to get one I could handle and get it over the fence,” said Burrell, whose game-winner kept the Phillies one game behind the Mets.
Snapping the skid may have been a relief for Philadelphia, but it didn’t solve the team’s recent offensive woes. The Phillies, who lead the NL with 165 home runs and rank among the league’s leaders with 4.84 runs per game, are averaging 3.0 runs and batting .199 during a 3-6 stretch since Aug. 7.
All-Star second baseman Chase Utley is 7-for-35 (.200) with eight strikeouts in that stretch, and Ryan Howard is 4-for-33 (.121) with 11 strikeouts. Before his home run Friday, Burrell had four hits in his previous 39 at-bats (.103).
“Our offense has been shut down, and I’m still trying to figure out why,” Manuel said. “But I think before the season is done, we’ll go on a hot streak.”
San Diego (47-75) has had its own offensive struggles lately. Since scoring a season-high 16 runs in a win over Colorado on Sunday, the Padres have totaled six runs while batting .189 and losing three of four games. They’ve been shut out nine times, including three times in 10 home games since the All-Star break.
The Padres will try to mount more of an attack against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (10-6, 4.74 ERA) on Saturday. The right-hander was 2-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his previous three starts before giving up a career high-tying seven runs in 3 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss to the Dodgers on Monday.
Kendrick won his only previous start against the Padres, holding them to one run in six innings of a 14-2 victory on Aug. 26, 2007.
Reineke, acquired from Houston on July 22, is 5-10 with a 4.37 ERA in 23 Triple-A games—22 starts—between the two organizations.
“He brings a fastball in the high 80s,” Padres manager Bud Black told the team’s official Web site. “From what I’ve been told, he pitches with an aggressive style and comes at you.”