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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Down five games with 21 games to go. The computer says the Phillies have a 1.5% chance of making the playoffs. Pitching coach Rich Dubee thinks the Phillies have them right where they want them.
“I like our odds. I like the way we are playing right now,” Dubee told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow. “If you look back, this isn’t a bad thing at all. You look at St. Louis last year and the run they went on to get into the playoffs and they were the hottest team in baseball going down the stretch.”
Carlos Ruiz will start his first game for the Phillies since returning from the disabled list with plantar fasciitis.
“That’s how were playing the games, to win each and every night. It’s nice to have some of our big pieces back there, with Howie and Chase, and even Ruiz with those two big base hits,” Dubee said.
Having the big guns like Utley, Howard, Halladay and Ruiz back has certainly helped the Phillies. But it’s unexpected contributions, like the streak Kyle Kendrick is on, have meant just as much. Kendrick is 6-1 in July and August, with an ERA of 2.34 in the second half. His overall ERA of 3.83 is actually lower than Roy Halladay’s.
“Kyle has done the job,” Dubee said. “We’ve tried to give him the information and he’s been able to put it in play. I think he’s found out who he is as a starting pitcher, and what he has to do to be affected, and that’s his sinker and change-up combination and being able to use a cutter on occasion but not fallen in love with it. He’s taken that, put it into play, and you gotta give him a lot of credit for being so good at it, so soon.”
Dubee said it was watching a pitcher on another team that finally made it click for Kendrick. “I think Kyle Lohse provided Kyle Kendrick with a great visual of what he could be, and who he should be. You watch that game that Loshey pitched against us, and thought that’s where he needed, how he needed to pitch down in the strike, and I thought that gave him an aid right there,” he said.