The Phillies lead the major league in victories and have just swept their nearest competitor in a three game series. This happened to be the first time all season that the Atlanta Braves were swept in a three game series. The Phillies tied and eventually won tonight’s game against the strongest portion of the Atlanta ballclub: Their bullpen. In addition the one member of the starting rotation that evokes anything close to concern looked like his old self again tonight.
The biggest area of concern for the Phillies right now is what pitcher Charlie Manual will start in the fourth game of a seven game series. Times are good. Roy Oswalt continued his climb back into acedom with seven strong innings against the Braves tonight. He struck out seven and humped his fastball up to 94 MPH. Oswalt did not surrender a hit until a Michael Borne double in the top of the sixth inning. He left the game after seven innings losing 2-1 after allowing a seeing eye single to Freddie Freeman in the top of the seventh. This is another game in which the Phillies starter did not allow very many hard hit balls. Bourn’s double to center was probably the hardest hit ball of the night. It is really hard not to get all fired up after Oswalt has a start like that giving the Phillies five viable major league pitchers. There were years when all five starters combined could barely comprise one viable major leaguer. Like I said, good times.
Brandon Beachy matched little Roy pitch for pitch through most of the game. He made one mistake to Raul Ibanez who responded by depositing the ball into the left field bleachers. It was Raul’s 250th home run in a career that didn’t begin in earnest until Ibanez reached his twenty ninth birthday. He is extremely streaky, but it is really hard not to root for Raul. After Raul’s homer, Beachy essentially shut the Phillies offense down giving way to Eric O’Flaherty after 5 2/3 innings of one run ball.
O’Flaherty followed a Beachy walk to Victorino and a single by Placido Polanco with a pitch that hit Chase Utley directly in the back of the head. Utley was removed from the game because he was just hit in the god damn head with a baseball. Ryan Howard struck out with the bases loaded. Howard had a tough day at the plate today as he was tasked with facing a couple of tough lefties in pressure situations. He ended up striking out three times and leaving five men on base. The Braves bullpen, especially the trio of O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel have been really good this season. The Phillies got the chance to face Venters trailing by one run in the eighth inning. John Mayberry Jr. started the inning with a single off of the Brave’s left hander. He was bunted to second by Wilson Valdez and Shane Victorino followed with a strikeout on a nasty slider. Placido Polanco hit a single scoring Mayberry and handing Venters his third blown save of the season.
It has been a really long time since Ross Gload has done anything to warrant anyone talking about him. He has battled a torn labrum that could fail at any moment, ending his season and quite possibly his career. Regardless of his lack of working body parts Gload managed to single in the winning run off of Peter Moylan in the bottom of the ninth inning. The 3-2 victory gave the Phillies a three game sweep of the Braves. Like I said, good times.
The Phillies managed to beat the Braves in three distinctly different manners. A blowout, a pitcher’s duel and a grind against a really good sinker baller. Next, the Phillies travel to Milwaukee to take on the team with the second best record in the National league. Cole Hamels goes against Chris Narveson in another possible playoff preview.
Go screw Dan Uggla.