MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- In the end, Charlie Manuel played a hunch and it did not work right. The Phillies manager follows his gut when making in-game decisions and on this night, it told him Kyle Kendrick was done after five innings.
It's hard to jump on that decision -- only when permitted the advantage of second-guessing. Kendrick was passable for six innings in his last start against Toronto and Manuel allowed a longer leash. He pitched the seventh and allowed two more runs.
Maybe that's what stuck in Manuel's mind Wednesday. Kendrick had thrown 81 pitches and allowed three runs (one earned) against Florida. He was the first to admit a lack of dominance. "It wasn't pretty," he said.
Kendrick added: "But I still had zeroes."
Manuel had a plan and that was for David Herndon to pitch the middle innings. When Herndon allowed three of five batters he faced to reach base, it was clear the strategy backfired. Enter Andrew Carpenter, a pitcher who was designated for assignment less than week into spring training and now pitching the seventh inning of a one-run game in July.
Manuel said after the game that he is staying away from using Michael Stutes for more than one inning. He could have gotten four outs, maybe, but that wouldn't help in the sixth and beginning of the seventh.
Afterward, Kendrick was peeved. He was asked if he could have lasted longer.
"Yeah," he said. He paused for a few seconds. "Yeah. I threw 80 pitches."
Standing in front of his locker, he held back what he really wanted to say.
"It's not my decision," Kendrick said. "Was I happy? No."
Then, when asked another question about the quick hook, Kendrick posed two of his own.
"What did he say? Did you ask him?"
"He" would be Manuel, who did not offer much.
"I took him out didn't I?" Manuel said brusquely.
Of course, the bullpen was not all to blame. Two Domonic Brown miscues cost three runs. The Phillies offense, which battered Anibal Sanchez, went quiet in the middle innings against a taxed Florida bullpen.
But Kendrick boarded the team's charter plane with a sour taste in his mouth, just as many Phillies fans did as they went to sleep.
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