The Braves really should have made the playoffs last year. Their manager proved to be an imbecile as the wheels completely fell off for them down the stretch. He overused two young bullpen arms and could not rely on them when it mattered most. Thier terribleness was also the reason that the St. Louis team that I will hate forever made it into the playoffs. This is just another, in a long line of reasons to hate the Atlanta Braves.
Brandon Beachy has a stupid alliterative name that gets stuck in your head. He is one of those players whose name you will attempt to use in trivial pursuit answers thirty years from now. He has also become a pretty solid major league starting pitcher. Today, he managed his way through seven innings giving up only two runs and leaving the game with the score tied 2-2. Just because he is good doesn’t mean that we can’t all irrationally despise him, so hate away everybody.
Cole Hamels did not have his best stuff today. The broadcast team let us know that he was “grinding.” He struck out six batters today including inducing a few swings from Dan Uggla that made me smile. Any time a pitcher can strike out Dan Uggla it makes me happy. Its true that Cole had to work a little harder than normal in this one. He gave up a solo home run to Brian McCann and his infield defense let him down a little bit as he gave up a sac fly to the random dude that played third base for Chipper Jones today. Much like his counterpart, Cole departed the game with the game tied 2-2.
In a battle of the bullpens, it is fair to favor the Braves. They have Jonny Venters, who has yet to give up an earned run this season, Criag Kimbrel, who is leading the league in saves, with a bunch of other pretty solid arms filling out their pen. Venters took over for Beachy in the eighth and promptly was tagged for two runs by the Phillies. He got Freddy Galvis to start in the inning, but allowed a broken bat double to John Mayberry Jr. and a single to Jimmy Rollins to follow. Mayberry scored on a wild pitch and Victorino followed with a single off of Venters and Hunter Pence singled on an emergency swing scoring another run. This knocked Venters from the game and raised his ERA from 0.00 to 1.93. Bastardo, Qualls and Papelbon didn’t give up anything and handed the Phillies a 4-2 victory and Venters the loss.
Papelbon continues to impress as he recorded his ninth save in as many opportunities. He is now tied with Krimbrel for the league lead in saves and made this one look really easy. It is still really difficult to rationalize how much money he makes, but it sure is nice not to worry about the ninth inning. It is also nice to see the offense collect eleven hits against a pretty solid pitching staff. Lets see if they can finally build on some of these efforts.
Next up, Roy Halladay attempts to get back on the winning track against Tommy Hanson.