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.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.