By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—What the Phillies will take today’s 10-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in their 2014 home-opener is a series of things you just can’t do if you expect to be a winning team.
One- You can’t let a team’s best hitter have his way with your starting pitching. Ryan Braun, amid the loud boos and cries of “cheater” by Phillies fans, smacked three home runs-including a pair of three-run homers. Braun, who was suspended for 65 games in 2013 for using performance-enhancing drugs, was 3-for-5 with seven runs batted in after struggling in his first six games.
“We didn’t have an answer for Ryan Braun offensively,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg.
After a solid outing last week against the Texas Rangers, starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick just could not find any rhythm and struggled with command of his pitches. In five innings, he allowed six runs (four earned) and nine hits including two of Braun’s home runs.
“My command was off,” Kendrick said. “I was up in the zone and when you’re up in the zone a lot, you gotta better chance of getting hit. I was up in the zone today. I was behind in some counts. My command was off.”
Braun also made an outstanding play in outfield when he robbed catcher Carlos Ruiz of a base hit when the Phillies had two on and two out in the second inning.
“I thought the play he made in the second inning was a freak play. We had a chance to a take a 3-1 lead, maybe more,” Sandberg said. “But they bounced back with our sloppy defense. They put four up (in the third inning). It was a huge momentum change all within two sides of an inning.”
Two-You can’t give teams extra outs by making errors in the field. The Phillies committed three and all three led to runs for the Brewers, who upped their record to 5-2. When the starting pitcher is struggling, the margin error is very thin.
“(Kendrick) wasn’t quite as sharp with the nine hits and he had two errors behind him. Overall, the story of the game was we didn’t execute in a lot of ways,” Sandberg said. “We didn’t get a sacrifice down, we didn’t turn a double-play. It was a not a good way to have an opening game. It was sloppy, but we’ll continue to work.”
Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Losch had a decent outing against the Phillies, going five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with five walks and four strikeouts. The Phillies just could not get the big inning, scoring single runs in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In spite of their struggles on offense, the Phillies (3-4) trailed 6-4 going in the top of the seventh and were within striking distance of the Brewers.
But that’s when things started falling apart for the Phillies. With two out in the seventh, relief pitcher B.J. Rosenberg gave up a single to Milwaukee leftfielder Khris Davis. First baseman Mark Reynolds hit a long fly ball to the warning track in center field that popped out of Ben Revere’s glove which scored Davis from first to make score 7-4.
“I felt the fence coming and I took my eyes off the ball before I hit the fence trying to see where it was,” Revere said. “It went in and out of my glove right before I crashed into the fence.”
In the eighth, Braun hit his second three-run of the game that sellout crowd of 45, 061 at Citizen’s Bank Park to the exits and into the parking lot.