It all seemed so promising. The Phillies basked in the glow of the good vibes of a sunny opening day and jumped out to a lead but Ryne Sandberg’s club couldn’t solve Ryan Braun. The Brewers slugger single-handily led Milwaukee to a 10-4 drubbing of the Phillies.
Braun blasted three homers and drove in a career high seven runs.
When Braun was asked about hitting two homers off of Kyle Kendrick, he shrugged off the feat.
“I was just lucky,” Braun said.
Braun said the same thing three years ago after he hit a pair of home runs off of Roy Halladay at Citizens Bank Park.
“Did I really say the same thing?” Braun asked.
Yes, and Braun is a certified Phillies killer. Braun has a .392 average against the Phillies with 17 homers, 37 RBIs and a ridiculous 1.173 OPS in 44 games.
“We had no answer for Ryan Braun today,” Kendrick said. “He’s a really good player.”
Kendrick wasn’t as sharp as he was last week when he pitched very well against the Texas Rangers.
“Command was off,” Kendrick said when asked what his problem was against an under-heralded Milwaukee lineup. “I didn’t have enough of it. I was up. When you’re up in the zone, you have a better chance of getting hit.”
Braun crushed a hanging slider Kendrick would like to have back. “You have to give Braun credit,” Ryan Howard said. “He had a monster game.”
The funny thing is that Braun, who has an injured right thumb, failed to drive the ball during batting practice.
“I didn’t hit a single ball out during BP,” Braun said. “I didn’t think I had any chance to have a game like this.”
But Braun, who was booed mercilessly after serving a long suspension for performance enhancing drugs last season, was infallible. He also made a great catch during the second inning, which changed the tone of the game. Carlos Ruiz hit a drive to right, which Braun dove to grab.
“If I miss that, it rolls to the wall and two runs score and there’s a man on third and we’re down by two runs.”
The Phillies could have used Chase Utley, who missed the opener due to a flu bug. Ryne Sandberg said Utley was only at the park for a half hour before he went home. Sandberg isn’t sure when the Phillies hottest hitter will return to the lineup.
Bet on Braun being in the lineup the next two days. Perhaps the jeering should be kept to a minimum.
“I use that (booing) to my advantage,” Braun said.
The fans should have been booing the Phillies shoddy defense. The undisciplined club made three errors, including Ben Revere, who ran a bad route to a ball in center, which he dropped in front of the fence, which led to a run. The swirling wind didn’t help Revere but he should have made the catch.
“I made a mistake,” Revere said. “I need to just go out there and keep fighting and get better.”
Revere is speaking for himself but he could be talking about the Phillies, who failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt and execute a double play.
“We’ll get things done,” Howard said. “It’s still early.”