WASHINGTON -- After a shaky first outing this season, Kyle Kendrick then went seven straight starts allowing two earned runs or fewer.
Now Kendrick is looking to regain that form after a second straight difficult outing. Kendrick pitched five innings allowing eight hits and five earned runs in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at NationalsPark.
Even more indicative of his struggles was the fact that Kendrick walked four and struck out just one. He threw 107 pitches, 62 for strikes.
In his previous outing, a 10-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Kendrick threw 112 pitches in six innings, 67 for strikes.
Actually, Kendrick pitched better against the Reds, allowing four earned runs. He walked four and struck out two.
Before that start against the Reds, Kendrick had not walked more than two runners in any appearance. Now he has issued eight in the past two games.
"I think the last two (games) I've been behind in the count, not working ahead," Kendrick said. "Not like I have been."
Kendrick remained determined to turn things around.
"I will get out of it," he said. "I'll get ahead next outing and try to get some early contact like I have in the past."
Then he stated the obvious.
"The last two outings, I haven't done that."
Kendrick is 4-3 with a 3.29 ERA in his first 10 starts.
If anybody would have suggested these numbers before the season, they would have been taken in a heartbeat.
Then when Roy Halladay suffered his shoulder injury and Kendrick pitched so well in that aforementioned seven-start streak, the expectations increased.
Kendrick doesn't have the type of overpowering stuff to get himself out of constant jams. And as Kendrick stated, he has to pitch ahead of batters.
The Phillies (23-25) had a chance to get to .500, a place they haven't been since improving to 6-6 on April 14.
"Obviously, we've been up and down all year," Kendrick said. "We had a chance to get back there (to .500) tonight and it's disappointing."
And Kendrick was holding himself accountable.
"We had a couple runs there and I couldn't hold it," he said, alluding to a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth. "Got to get after it, though."