What started out as a perfectly wonderful afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park turned into a home opener nightmare for the Philadelphia Phillies. The first tale of two games began with the first inning and lasted through the fourth. During that time, the Phillies jumped to a 4-0 lead behind the strong pitching of Kyle Kendrick.
The Phils were aggressive at the plate, swinging early and making solid contact. Confidence seemed to be in abundant supply as Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz lofted home runs; Kendrick came within a few feet of going yard and Chase Utley continued his early season surge as he doubled and stole a base. Defensively, Ben Revere made a diving catch that will make most highlight reels. Even Ryan Howard, not known for accurate throws, rifled a shot to Kratz to create a force out at home plate.
All seemed right within the Phillies’ world. There was nothing happening on the field that would even hint at the impending rout that was about to occur. The second part of this tale of two games began to unfold in the fifth inning. This time it was the Kansas City Royals writing the script.
Throughout spring training, the Royals had walloped opposing pitchers. However, for the first four innings of this game, they were silent. It was as if they were mesmerized by the raucous atmosphere of CBP.
Then the spell wore off. Kendrick ran out of steam and the Phillies bullpen took to the mound. The Royals bats came alive. Jeremy Horst gave up three runs, Chad Durbin followed and yielded another run, and Raul Valdes ended the calamity after donating another four runs to the Royals.
This is a bullpen that’s been billed as an improvement from 2012. Yet, the results were all too familiar. Don’t be surprised if Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee describes this train wreck as a “work-in-progress”. In typical Phillie style, many fans headed toward the exits long before the final out in the bottom of the ninth. For them, the story had turned ugly.
The 13-4 drubbing of the Phillies may not be an accurate gauge of the team’s direction and abilities. However, if manager Charlie Manuel and Dubee can sleep well tonight, they must have watched a different game.