Charlie Manuel will breathe a sigh of relief when the Philadelphia Phillies take the field on Wednesday night.
At long last, the trade deadline will have passed by the time the Phillies host the San Francisco Giants.
“I think the trade deadline for our team has been a distraction,” said the manager, whose team has gone 2-8 since the All-Star break and on the fringe of the wild-card race. “I’ll be glad when it’s over.”
Among those who may be departing Philadelphia is Michael Young, who homered in Tuesday’s 7-3 win over San Francisco that snapped an eight-game skid. He finished with two hits, two runs scored and two runs batted in.
“We just have to do our job,” pitcher John Lannan said. “(Trade rumors) are part of the game. It’s one of those things where you have to put it in the back of your mind and play. It’s something you can’t control.”
If Young exits the City of Brotherly Love, no one will be happier than San Francisco starter Chad Gaudin (4-2, 2.77 ERA). Young has more hits (15) off Gaudin than any other batter and is a lifetime .455 hitter against the right-hander. Of those 15 hits, three are home runs and three are doubles.
Gaudin is looking to return to form after a rough start against Cincinnati. Gaudin had a 0.77 ERA in four starts leading into Wednesday, when he surrendered season highs of six runs and five walks in an 8-3 loss.
“I didn’t command the fastball,” Gaudin said. “I didn’t get ahead of hitters and against a team like that you can’t fall behind.”
Gaudin has made nine relief appearances but never started against the Phillies (50-56). He pitched two scoreless innings against them on May 6, but owns a 5.79 ERA in three appearances at Citizens Bank Park.
Carlos Ruiz will look to make life difficult for Gaudin after hitting his first home run since September 25 on Tuesday. The Phillies catcher, who finished with 16 home runs last season, needed 152 at-bats this year to finally go deep.
“I think Carlos showed last year the kind of hitter he can be,” Manuel said. ”He’s missed some time and he’s had a hard time getting back to where he was.”
The Giants (46-59), losers of five straight and eight of nine, would very much like to end a power drought of their own. They have gone nine games without a home run and have averaged 2.0 runs during that stretch.
“We couldn’t get the offense going,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s been the frustrating thing during the stretch. We kept talking about it. We just had to get the bats going. We’ve tried everything.”
Buster Posey, tied for the team lead with 14 home runs, hasn’t homered since July 20 and is mired in a 1-for-23 slump.
Fortunately for San Francisco, Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick (9-7, 3.96) has also struggled of late with a 5.76 ERA over his last five starts. Those woes continued Thursday, when he allowed three runs and four of his five total hits in the third inning of a 3-1 loss to St. Louis.
The right-hander, who pitched six innings in that defeat, has allowed just two runs over his last 11 1-3 innings against the Giants. He tossed seven innings of two-run ball in a 6-2 win May 7.