Game 4 - Friday Afternoon, April 5th in Philadelphia
Record - 1-3, Tied for 4th Place, 2 games behind the Nationals and Braves
One Sentence Summary: All was right with the world until the fifth inning when Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies bullpen absolutely imploded and the Royals cruised to an easy 13-4 victory.
What It Means: Not a fun home opener for the fans. Fortunately, two of the fans in attendance (see field report below) couldn't care less about the Phillies early season struggles.
What Went Wrong: It's a shame that a sudden, game shortening rain storm didn't hit the area following the fifth inning. Through five, the Phillies led 4-2 behind strong pitching from Kendrick and solo home runs from Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz, along with two RBI singles from Ryan Howard.
After the fifth, the Royals scored 11 unanswered runs and their relievers no-hit the Phillies. In fact, the Phillies last hit of the day came in the third when Michael Young singled with one out. The bullpen trio of Jeremy Horst, Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes combined to allow 8 runs in 3 1/3 innings. In the first four games of the season, Phillies starting pitchers not named Cliff Lee have a combined 9.64 ERA. (Per a Tweet from Jim Salisbury.)
Featured Card: It's all Bruce Chen's fault. The former Phillie pitched a scoreless fifth inning in relief, setting the tone for the rest of the Royals relievers that followed. 2013 will be Chen's 15th season in the Majors, and his fifth season with the Royals. Chen spent parts of two seasons (2000-2001) with the Phillies, earning a handful of Phillies baseball cards during his brief stay. I was a big fan of the Pacific cards of the 1990s and early 2000s, and this card is from the company's 2001 flagship set.
Field Report: Jenna and I took our boys to the game, and we had great seats in Section 329 in left field along the third base line. The highlight of the day for both boys was the fanfare and excitement during the pre-game ceremony, in which they both vigorously waved their new Opening Day 2013 rally towels. The outcome wasn't what we had hoped for, but overall I'd say that their first Phillies opening day was a success!
Jenna took the photos below - the boys and me, the ginormous American flag on the field during pre-game ceremonies and a shot of George Brett and Mike Schmidt throwing out the ceremonial first pitches, as seen on Phanavision.
After going 4-8 in games I attended during the 2012 season, the Phillies start off at 0-1 in (regular season) games I've attended in 2013.