A struggling bullpen is hurting the Philadelphia Phillies' chances of winning. Sending Jason Marquis to the mound is having the opposite effect on the San Diego Padres.
The Phillies will try to bounce back from another blown save by Jonathan Papelbon while snapping Marquis' lengthy win streak Tuesday night.
Philadelphia's relievers have a major league-worst 4.68 ERA this season and a 6.66 ERA in their last nine games as the team has gone 3-6. Papelbon has played a significant role in those struggles, blowing four of his past five save opportunities after converting his first 13 this season.
The latest blown save came in Monday's series opener as the Phillies (36-41) fell 4-3 in 10 innings. They led 3-0 in the ninth until Papelbon gave up a two-run single to Kyle Blanks, who then scored the tying run on a passed ball and would single off Justin De Fratus to drive in the winning run in the 10th.
"I don't know what is worse, losing 15-0 or getting beat that way. Either way, it's a loss and it doesn't sit well with me," said Papelbon, who has given up a run in six of 10 appearances after 18 2-3 scoreless innings.
Injuries to setup man Mike Adams (shoulder) and Michael Stutes (biceps) surely aren't helping. Among Philadelphia's current relievers, only Papelbon and Antonio Bastardo have made more than 38 career appearances.
"(The current bullpen is) probably the youngest we've had," pitching coach Rich Dubee told the team's website. "That's a crapshoot in baseball, trying to find the right bullpen pieces."
Blanks took advantage of the woeful Philadelphia bullpen to finish with a career-best four hits.
"It's been that kind of elusive game for me. It's always fun to have those and I'm looking forward to having a lot more," Blanks said.
The Padres must look forward to having Marquis (9-2, 3.59 ERA) on the hill. They've won each of his last five starts and 10 of 11, a span in which the right-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in all but one outing. He's 8-0 during that stretch, his longest win streak since an 11-game run in 2004.
San Diego (39-38) has won his last eight starts at home as Marquis has gone 6-0 with a 2.75 ERA. The latest of those outings came Thursday, when he gave up two runs over six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers but did not get a decision in a 6-3 victory.
Marquis, 6-8 with a 5.57 ERA in 19 career starts against the Phillies, is looking to reach double digits in victories for the first time since winning 15 games in 2009 while with Colorado.
It's unclear if he will have to face Ryan Howard. The Phillies hope to have their cleanup man back in the lineup after he had to sit out the series opener with a sore left knee. Manager Charlie Manuel said the knee had been hampering Howard for weeks.
Manuel will start Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.56), who seeks to build on a much improved showing. The right-hander gave up one run and two hits over seven innings in a 6-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday after getting tagged for a season-high seven runs and 10 hits in Colorado on June 14.
Kendrick is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA in three career starts against the Padres.
Chase Utley will try to give him a boost by adding to his recent success against the Padres and Marquis.
The second baseman, who homered Friday, is 8 for 18 with three home runs in his last five games versus San Diego. He's 14 for 31 (.452) all-time against Marquis, his best showing against any pitcher he's faced at least 30 times.
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