Yesterday afternoon, Ryan Braun was propelled by the deafening boos that he received every time he stepped into the batters’ box or took the field, to a three-homerun performance, as he alone wiped the floor with the Phillies in the home-opener. Given the amount of angst that is directed towards Braun in most MLB circles, yesterday is the type of game that I think we would all like to pretend didn’t happen. So let’s.
The Phillies sent Roberto Hernandez to the mound in game two the Brewers set, as he looked to get his second win of the season. For the Brewers, Matt Garza got the ball, looking to get more run support than he did in his first start, where he went eight innings of one-run ball, but took a tough loss.
For Garza, that run-support came from the get-go. In the top of the first, the Brewers got an RBI from Aramis Ramirez that plated Jean Segura. The Brewers added a second-run, on a Jimmy Rollins error, that allowed-who else-Ryan Braun to score.
In the home half of the first, the Phillies bats, which continue to hit much better than they did in 2013, got those two runs back and even added another on. The first run came on a balk from Matt Garza (which amazingly is still an unearned run), which allowed Rollins to cut the lead in half. The Phillies were able to leave the inning with a lead, after RBI groundouts from Marlon Byrd and Dom Brown.
Hernandez never got in much of a groove though, allowing runs on a Jean Segura double in the second and a Carlos Gomez homerun in the fourth, on what didn’t turn out to be a good start for ‘Robbie Fausto’. Despite striking out nine (which was only one away from a career-high), Hernandez was only able to go five innings, while tossing over 100 pitches, and giving up six runs.
I’m starting to feel like Hernandez isn’t likely to turn in too many starts in which he goes longer than five innings, which is alarming considering that if he leaves after five innings, it requires four innings of bullpen work, barring that the Phillies are winning and don’t need the bottom of the ninth. That wasn’t the case tonight.
While Byrd did drive in another run in the fifth inning, which tied the game, the Phillies bullpen unraveled late. The bullpen unraveling late is starting to become the storyline of the 2014 Phillies.
As the Phillies continue to search for any sort of bullpen stability, Antonio Bastardo struggled mightily in the eighth. Logan Schafer gave the Brewers the lead back, as he hit a ball that ate Ryan Howard up, and allowed Mark Reynolds to score. Just to disgust us even more, Ryan Braun smoked a ball that Ben Revere didn’t get to and allowed to go all the way to the wall, as two more runs scored. While only one of those runs was charged to Bastardo, entering a game that is tied and leaving it with your team down three, doesn’t usually indicate a good performance. That trend wasn’t bucked by Bastardo tonight.
For good measure, the Brewers added on another run in the top half of the ninth, as Reynolds belted a two-run homerun over the center-field wall, off of Justin De Fratus.
That ninth-inning bomb gave the Brewers a 9-4 lead, that turned out to be the final score of the game.
Tomorrow evening, the Phillies send Cliff Lee to the hill, looking to avoid getting swept by the ‘Brew Crew’. Lee, paired with the hopeful return of Chase Utley, should give the Phillies a good shot to move to 4-5.