Phillies fall to Braves, is Kyle Kendrick out of rotation?

Too bad Cole Hamels can’t pitch every night. The Braves bludgeoned Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies bullpen en route to a 12-6 victory Wednesday night.

Kendrick gave up six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.

“You always want to pitch well,” Kendrick said. “It was a bad outing. “

The Phillies, who were down 6-1, surprisingly rallied to tie the game in the fifth, courtesy of a three-run homer by Ryan Howard. However, the Phillies’ bullpen, which has been fairly solid over the last three weeks, gave up six runs. After Antonio Bastardo recorded two outs in the seventh, the Braves loaded the bases. Dan Uggla cleared the bags with a double off Josh Lindblom.

“Right now, my struggle was throwing the fastball for a strike,” Bastardo said, “but I feel good.”

The negatives were obvious, but Manuel noted there were good things to take from the six-run loss. Howard slammed a long homer to left-center field. It was his seventh dinger off Braves starter Tim Hudson in 61 at-bats.

Domonic Brown, who has shown good plate discipline since being called up last week, extended his hitting streak to six-games. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a homer and doubled. Rollins extended his franchise record for lead-off homers with his 40th.

That’s the silver lining on a dark cloud. It was a battle of bullpens and the Braves’ relievers, who are arguably the best in baseball, won that contest handily. The Atlanta ‘pen — 3-0 with a microscopic 0.40 ERA in August — sealed the deal. A strong bullpen and timely hitting is apparently the difference between a legitimate contender and a team searching for answers for the remainder of a disappointing season and 2013.

Speaking of questions and answers. Is Kendrick still in the rotation?

“I don’t know,” Kendrick said. “Who knows? It’s out of my hands.”

Expect Kendrick to make his next start. Manuel noted that he doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to starters. He doesn’t have a lot of options at some other positions as well.

By the way, the Phillies lost their 61st game of the season, one more than their 2011 total. There are still 51 games left.

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