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Phillies, Kendrick Cooled Off by Astros: A Fan's Take

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The Philadelphia Phillies and Kyle Kendrick have been in the same boat all year. Phillies fan like myself have seen the team and Kendrick struggle and stumble most of the year - only for both of them to get hot in the last month. In fact, as the pitcher made his case to be in the 2013 starting rotation, he was instrumental in the team's effort to save 2012 as well.

But given how inconsistent the Phillies and Kendrick can be, it was fitting that they hit a wall together on Sept. 15. After being scorching hot for over a month, both the pitcher and his team had a letdown against the Houston Astros en route to a costly 5-0 loss.

Kendrick only made it through five innings, in which the Astros touched him up for four runs and seven hits. He wasn't helped by the Phillies' bats, as they left the bases loaded in both the first and third innings. What's more, Philadelphia was not only letting a 47-99 ball club shut it down, it was being shut out by a pitcher who came in with a 1-7 record.

Yet Dallas Keuchel doubled his win total by getting out of two big jams and clamping the Phillies down the rest of the way. It certainly came out of nowhere - almost as much as Kendrick and Philadelphia's recent dominance did. However, considering how much they both struggled before August, they probably couldn't keep it up forever.

We fans at least figured that the Phillies would stay hot enough to manhandle the lowly Astros, instead of losing two games to them already. But if they can't even take care of the worst team in baseball over the weekend, it doesn't bode well for their miracle run.

Yet even if Philadelphia hasn't done enough at the last minute to make the playoffs, Kendrick has likely done enough to get a full time starter's job again next year. But while he had been enjoying the best stretch of his career before facing the Astros, the Phillies don't know if he can keep this pace up for an entire year - or an entire September stretch drive.

Now that Kendrick has stumbled, will he go back to the same old inconsistency that got him demoted to the bullpen? Likewise, will the Phillies go back to their old disappointing selves now that they have been cooled off - by the coldest team in baseball, no less? This team and this pitcher have usually been hot and cold together at the same time, so it won't be hard to figure out which way they'll go.

Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Phillies since he was eight years old.

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