There was a fair amount of hoopla surrounding the pitching staffs prior to the series opener between the Braves and Phillies. Roy Halladay, Johnny Venters, Cliff Lee, Tommy Hanson; all top flight major league pitchers with some impressive peripherals to back up their reputations. This game was won by minor league journeyman Juan Perez who struck out the side in the top of the tenth inning on nine pitches. Let me restate that to make sure that I was clear. Juan Perez, a guy that pretty much every team in baseball has signed to their roster and disposed of, struck out three batters (including Jason Heyward) on nine pitches. Baseball can be a strange sport. Things happen that make zero sense. Luckily, the strange favored the Phillies tonight as Perez morphed into Sandy Koufax.
Roy Halladay started the game. When Roy pitches, I get a little upset when he doesn’t throw a complete game shut out. There are times that I have to pick up the computer and research the starting pitching staff for the 2001 Phillies. How the fuck did Robert Person win fifteen games? Anyway, Roy did what Roy does. He went seven innings while allowing six hits and two runs. He did not walk anyone and generally kept the Phillies offense in the game. He really did not have shut down stuff and it is a testament to what he is that he only allowed two runs. He is the best pitcher in baseball.
The Braves tallied single runs in the second and fourth innings, only to watch the Phillies answer in the bottoms of both innings. Freddie Freeman singled to center field to score Chipper Jones in the second. Wilson Valdez tied the score on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning. Apparently Dan Uggla’s on switch activation resulted in an infield single and an RBI in the fourth. Carlos Ruiz responded by tying the game with a home run in the bottom of the inning. The addition of Dan Uggla in the offseason made me hate the Braves more than I previously thought possible. Here is a team that I already dislike as much as a person can dislike a sports franchise that adds a player that I dislike as much as a person can dislike a sports figure. Perfect match.
Brandon Beachy pitched a pretty good game for the Braves. He scattered eight hits in his six innings of work and managed not to lose the the best pitcher in baseball. Luckily, Beachy was out of the game fairly early, causing the Braves to burn through all of their lefty specialists in the middle innings. While the team was shut down by O’Flaherty, Venters and Sherril, this left John Proctor to face Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the tenth inning. Howard was robbed by Jordan Schaffer and Raul smashed the living hell out of a Proctor pitch and deposited it into the right field bleachers. Game over.
Again, Juan Perez pitched a perfect top of the tenth to earn the win. This one was a 3-2 walk off win for the Phillies. Go screw Dan Uggla.