Game 18 - Sunday Afternoon, April 25th in Phoenix
The reserves played well enough in the Sunday matinee in Phoenix, but the Phillies' suspect bullpen was again guilty of coughing up a late lead. The Phils dropped the series finale to the Diamondbacks, 8-6, failing to capture the series win. The game featured a starting line-up of back-ups Ross Gload in right, Greg Dobbs at third and Wilson Valdez at short. Those three combined to go 5 for 14 with 3 RBIs. Dobbs' first home run of the year gave the Phils an early 2-0 lead in the 1st.
Starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick was cruising along until the 5th, when the bottom fell out and the Diamondbacks pushed across 5 runs on 5 hits, including 2 home runs - one a 3-run shot by the newest member to the Phillie-killer club, Mark Reynolds. Kendrick's pitching performance through the 4th inning was a continuation of his fine outing from Tuesday night, when we were otherwise occupied.
The Phils managed to take the lead in the 6th on a 2-out, 2-run single from Carlos Ruiz. However, relievers Danys Baez (6.43 ERA) and David Herndon (7.04 ERA) coughed up three more runs to the Diamondbacks in the 7th and 8th innings. Mark Reynolds' tie-breaking RBI-double in the 8th inning sealed the Phils' fate for the afternoon, and the team will attempt to regroup in San Francisco starting (late) tomorrow night.
Alaskan Curse: Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin was in attendance at this afternoon's game in Phoenix. There have been 11 players in Major League history born in the the 49th state, including former Diamondback and Phillie Curt Schilling. Strangely enough, Palin, Schilling and this afternoon's bullpen performance all bring about the exact same feeling in the pit of my stomach.