Braves vs. Phillies Series Recap (9/6 – 9/8)

Game 1:  Phillies 2,  Braves 1

Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The first game of the series was the Mike Minor vs. Cliff Lee show. Minor and Lee were both stellar with the exception of one batter each. Lee gave up a solo homer to Andrelton Simmons in the 3rd, and Minor allowed a home run to Cody Asche in the 7th. Unfortunately, Asche hit his homer after Darren Ruf singled with 2 outs. Overall, Cliff Lee went 8 innings, only allowing the Simmons homer and a Chris Johnson single, didn’t walk anyone and struck out 10.  Minor was almost as good as Lee, going 7 innings with 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk and 9 punch-outs.  Freddie Freeman singled with 2 outs in the 9th, but Evan Gattis flew out to end the game.  There isn’t a whole lot to say about this game other than the 2 great pitching performances.  It was a really quick game because of that and lasted less than 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Game 2:  Phillies 6,  Braves 5

Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The second game of the series was more of a roller coaster ride than the first game.  Let’s just say that if Fredi Gonzalez uses the bullpen anywhere close to the way that he used it in this game the Braves are in serious trouble.

After the Braves battled back with a thrilling, game-tying 2-run home run from Andrelton Simmons with 2 out in the 9th off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Fredi Gonzalez inexplicably put in the old and terrible Freddy Garcia to pitch the bottom of the 9th in a tie game.  Predictably, Freddy Galvis hit a walk off home run and sent the Braves to their 3rd straight loss. Before the Garcia blunder, Gonzalez also used 5 pitchers out of his pen to get just 10 outs.  They should show tape of this game in managers school as an example of how not to use your bullpen. It really was that inexplicable.

Offensively, Simmons paced the Brave attack with a 3-hit game.  Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson added 2 hits each.

Alex Wood labored through his second straight bad start, not even making it out of the 5th inning.  Wood gave up 9 hits, walked 3 and allowed 4 runs in his 4.2 innings and was pretty lucky to only give up 4 as a lot of the Phillies outs were also hard hit balls that just happened to find a fielder’s glove.

Game 3:  Phillies 3,  Braves 2

Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The 3rd game in Philly belonged to El Oso Blanco, who tried to carry the Braves to victory by himself, but fell a gust of wind short.  Gattis hit two home runs, one of which was a monster 480+ foot BOMB off Phillies starter Cole Hamels, and narrowly missed a third when he flew out to the wall in center with a strong wind keeping the White Bear from a three homer game.

It looked like it was going to be  a horrible game from the start as Paul Maholm started off the bottom of the 1st with a hit batter, walk, double and single and the Braves were down 2-0 after 4 batters.  Fortunately, Maholm picked off one of them and got the next two hitters to line-out to end a bad first inning.  Surprisingly enough, Maholm settled down and held the Phillies scoreless over the next 5 innings to keep the Braves in the game.  For the game, Maholm went 6 innings, allowed 7 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, and stuck out 5.

The Braves put up yet another pitiful offensive game against Hamels.  The only 2 hits the Braves had were the 2 Gattis homeruns.

Still the Braves found themselves in the middle of a 2-2 game in the bottom of the 8th inning.  David Carpenter, who has been great out of the pen all season, gave up the go ahead solo shot to Darin Ruf and the rest was history.

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I find it stunning that in the entire 3 game series only FOUR Braves got hits.  Freeman, CJ2.0 (aka Chris Johnson), Simmons and Gattis were a combined 12-43 for the series and the rest of the Braves were 0-46. OUCH.

BJ Upton hit lead-off in all three of the games and went 0-12 with 7 Ks and didn’t reach base once.  Not quite the resurgence that Braves fans had hoped for with Jason Heyward out. In fact, the Upton brothers went a combined 0-20 in the series with only 1 walk and 11 strikeouts.

The Braves did get swept, but each game was by a single run and surprisingly, the bullpen gave up late home runs in two of those games.  Then again, Freddy Garcia was one of those, and he doesn’t really count for the purposes of this writing. The Braves have lost 4 in a row but still maintain a 2-game lead over the Dodgers for the best record in the NL, not to mention a 12 game lead over the Nats in the NL East.  The Braves are now 8-7 this season against the Phillies, with a 4 game series left to go in Atlanta to finish the season.

Topics: Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves, Evan Gattis, Mike Minor, Philadelphia Phillies

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