Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis
By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 13 2014, 4:15PM EDT.

PHILADELPHIA - Jayson Werth set the tone early with a three-run blast in the first inning as the Nationals rolled past the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, 10-3.

After showing life and sweeping a four-game series in Milwaukee against one of the better teams in baseball, the Phillies dropped two of three this weekend to the Nationals and limp into the All-Star break 11 games below .500.

"I don't think this is what anyone set out for during Spring Training," said Chase Utley. "At this point all we can try and do is continue to get better and that's part of the game because I think we can play better than we have. We've shown some glimpses of it, but we need to continue to grind and put out that effort every day."

Kyle Kendrick struggled again in the opening frame, surrendering a pair of singles before serving up an 0-1 slider that Werth deposited several rows deep in the left field seats.

The Nationals scored another four runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

The Phillies offense never really threatened Washington starter Tanner Roark, having just one runner reach third base through the first six innings of the contest and finishing 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Kendrick's difficulties in the first inning are significant; entering Sunday he had allowed 21 earned runs over 18 first innings with hitters putting up an unsightly .371 batting average against.

"It's just the quality of pitches," Kendrick said. "I need to keep working at it and I'll fix it."

Of Kendrick's 21 first inning pitches, 9 were sliders or change-ups.

"We've talked about it and he's been experimenting with some things," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "He seems to, at times, get away his fastball and go to his secondary pitches early on and those were two pitches that were hit today where he doesn't really establish his fastball. It's a tough way to start when those first three guys come in."

With the trade deadline less than three weeks away it's expected that major changes are on the horizon for the Phillies. Scouts from at least three different teams were in attendance Sunday and the Phils have several pieces that could help a club in contention.

Even so, Sandberg is trying to remain positive with more than two months of baseball remaining.

"I've had a glimmer of hope with the stretches we've had as of late," Sandberg said. "Cliff Lee coming back, along with Ruiz, is big. Having everyone back and seeing what we can do at full-strength is where my head is at heading into the second part of the season."

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

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Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis