PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Kyle Kendrick has to wait an extra day to start another home opener.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers enjoyed an unexpected day off Monday without having to sit around in their uniforms and wait through rain delays. A gloomy forecast forced postponement of their game 25 hours before the scheduled start.
When the teams meet Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, Kendrick (0-0) will face former Phillies pitcher Kyle Lohse (0-1). It’ll be Kendrick’s second straight start in the home opener.
“The fans are going to be excited and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We’ll be back home for the first time this year and hopefully we can get a win. That’s the main thing.”
The Phillies went 3-3 in their first six games at Texas and the Chicago Cubs. Bullpen breakdowns cost them two games against the Rangers, including closer Jonathan Papelbon’s eighth blown save since 2013. But the offense got off to a surprisingly strong start after a miserable spring. The Phillies are batting .276 and averaging 5.2 runs per game.
After hitting just .217 with three extra-base hits and three RBIs in Florida, Chase Utley found his groove once the games started to count. He already has three doubles, two homers, six RBIs and a .458 average. Dominic Brown is hitting .381, Jimmy Rollins has six RBIs in four games and the team has seven homers.
“Chase is a perfect example of why we don’t worry as much as everybody else worries,” general Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “When the bell rings and the lights are major league lights and the background, those guys are ready to turn on the switch.”
The Brewers (4-2) are coming in after a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. It could be a welcome trip to Philadelphia for Ryan Braun, who has only three singles in 20 at-bats.
The 2011 NL MVP has had more success against the Phillies than any other team. He has a career average of .386 with a .430 on-base percentage, .690 slugging percentage, 14 homers and 30 RBIs in 43 games vs. Philadelphia.
Braun is battling a thumb injury that also bothered him last year before he served a 65-game suspension for violations of MLB’s drug agreement and labor contract. Braun heard boos in Boston in his first road game since returning and surely will hear some more in Philadelphia.
Lohse takes the mound for the Brewers after losing to Atlanta in his first start. The right-hander pitched for the Phillies in the second half of 2007, helping them begin their streak of five NL East titles.
“That was the year we caught the Mets, when we were down seven games with 17 to play,” Lohse told MLB.com. “Unfortunately, we ran into the Rockies that year, when they won 22 in a row or whatever it was to get in the playoffs. They were on fire. But I enjoyed my time (in Philadelphia). It was fun to be a part of that comeback.”
Both teams are trying to rebound from fourth-place finishes in 2013. The Phillies were 73-89 and the Brewers won one more game.
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