PHILADELPHIA -- It has been an ugly beginning for a supposedly improved Phillies bullpen.
It entered Saturday's game against the Royals at Citizens Bank Park with a 10.50 ERA, the worst mark in baseball. Phillies relievers have allowed 17 hits, 14 runs, seven walks and two home runs in just 12 innings.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel isn't worried.
"We have a chance to have a good bullpen, a real good one," he said. "At the same time, we've got to put people in the game and we've got to see them pitch. I think it might take us a little while. The experience they got last year was really great for them, but also they got that experience when we were 14 games under .500 and we were putting people out there in situations. There's a huge difference. The start of the season is completely different to them now. I'm sure they think about where they're at and what their role is and they're concerned. And maybe they're trying a little bit too hard."
Left-hander Jeremy Horst allowed three hits, three runs and one walk in one-third of an inning Friday. Right-hander Chad Durbin has allowed three hits, three runs and two walks in two appearances. Horst had a 1.15 ERA in 32 appearances last season and left-handers hit just .170 against him. Durbin is a historically slow starter. His career ERA in April is 1.75 earned runs higher than the rest of the season.
Manuel's message: Let it play out a little more.
Phils plan to keep Brown in left field
PHILADELPHIA -- Some have wondered why Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has played Domonic Brown in left field rather than right, which is the position he played coming up through the Minor Leagues.
He said it is because he needs Brown to get comfortable there.
The working theory is Delmon Young, who is out due to right ankle surgery, rejoins the team before the end of the month and plays a competent right field, a position he has not played since 2007. So rather than have Brown play right then move to left, Manuel wants him to start in left and stay there so he isn't suddenly thinking about playing a new position.
"I think he's better off staying in one place right now," Manuel said. "That doesn't mean that he can't play right field, but that's kind of what our plans are."
Kendrick hoped to finish the sixth inning
PHILADELPHIA -- Every starter wants to pitch at least six innings, and Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick felt no differently Friday.
He said he felt fine and hoped to finish the sixth in a 13-4 loss to the Royals. Instead, he intentionally walked pinch-hitter Billy Butler to load the bases and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had left-hander Jeremy Horst face left-handed-hitting Alex Gordon. But Horst allowed a triple to clear the bases and give the Royals a one-run lead.
The game got much worse from there.
"He can say what he wants to and I'll say to him what I want to," Manuel said about Kendrick. "I'm not going to tell you what I tell him, though. Seriously, that's how I look at it. I don't care what he says, but if I got something to say to him, I'll be able to do that. You won't know unless he tells you."
Phils getting runners on, not knocking them in
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies entered Saturday's game against Kansas City with 30 runners left on base, which ranked ninth in baseball. They ranked 12th with 12 runners left in scoring position.
Bad sign: They aren't knocking those runners in. They are hitting .200 with runners in scoring position, which is 20th in baseball.
Good sign: They are getting runners on, which is the first step. Their .311 on-base percentage is 12th in baseball and sixth in the National League.
"Sooner or later, we will [knock them in]," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't want to go out here every day and leave guys on base. There are times when we will definitely address it. But also, that's part of the game. They have to be out there for us to knock them in. So being out there for us is the first thing. Now the second thing is to knock them in. It will come and go. When you are playing real good, you will knock them in. When things aren't going so good, more likely than not you will be leaving them out there."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.