By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 25 2014, 3:00PM EDT.
PHILADELPHIA - Kyle Kendrick hopes to put his first inning struggles behind him tonight when he toes the rubber for the Phillies in the first game of a three-game set against the D-Backs.
"It's something I've been trying to work on," Kendrick said. "I just have to make better pitch selections."
Kendrick has a 10.80 ERA in the first inning over his previous 20 starts. He's surrendered 18 runs in 16 2/3 innings over his past three starts, including two that resulted in losses.
"I was just trying to be too fine," said Kendrick, who surrendered six runs over five innings of work on Sunday. "It's just been a tough year for me. I don't know why. I just have to keep pitching."
Kendrick, like so many other players on the Phillies roster, has heard his name mentioned as a candidate to be moved with the non-waiver trade deadline less than a week away.
"All I can do is keep going go out there and giving my team a chance to win," Kendrick said. "The rest will fall into place."
Kendrick is 4-10 on the season with a 4.87 ERA.
He'll be opposed on the mound by Wade Miley who is 3-0 in his last four starts while sporting a 1.88 ERA.
Howard sits again
Ryan Howard is not in Friday's starting lineup, marking the third consecutive day he's been left to open a game on the bench.
"Talk to the manager," Howard said following Thursday's contest against the Giants. "Talk to him, not me."
The 34-year-old is hitting .156 in the month of July with a .270 on-base percentage and a .219 slugging percentage.
Despite being owed nearly $60 million over the next two seasons, club officials are reportedly toying with the idea of releasing Howard at the end of the regular season.
"It's insane, but it may be their only option," said one American League scout. "Someone else would be crazy to pick up that contract or take it in a trade."
Phillies lineup: Sizemore 8, Rollins 6, Utley 4, Byrd 9, Ruiz 2, Brown 7, Ruf 3, Asche 5, Kendrick 1.
D-Backs lineup: Peralta 8, Hill 4, Goldschmidt 3, Montero 2, Trumbo 7, Prado 5, Parra 9, Ahmed 6, Miley 1.
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