Road Kill Phils
By Matt Veasey
The Phils ended their 10-game road trip with a 7-5 loss in Atlanta. They went 3-7 on the trip, losing all three series in Saint Louis (1-3), Miami (1-2) and now Atlanta (1-2) to drop their road record to a dismal 4-12 on the season.
The offense was actually productive in this one, a rarity in the 2015 season for this Phillies team. They scored 5 runs and had a dozen hits, 4 of them for extra bases. Ben Revere had a 4-hit night, including 3 doubles, and Ryan Howard had a 3-hit night, including his team-leading 5th homerun.
This time around, it was the starting pitcher who let them down. Jerome Williams (2-2) produced his worst start since joining the team last August. He lasted just 4.1 innings in which he tossed 72 pitches, just 47 of those for strikes. He allowed 6 earned runs on 8 hits, 3 of those for extra bases.
Williams has been atrocious this far on the road in 2015. He has an 0-2 record with an 8.16 ERA over three starts in which he has lasted just 14.1 total innings. Compare that to his home mark of 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA and 18.2 innings over 3 starts, and you can see that he is no road warrior at this point, but instead appears to enjoy the home cooking.
Mike Foltynewicz (2-0) wasn’t much better for the Braves. The young righty lasted 5.1, allowing 4 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. But he left with a 6-2 lead, the Phils would never catch up, and thus Foltynewicz earned the victory.
The Braves jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st when Andrelton Simmons smoked his 2nd homer of the season to left center. The Phils evened things up in the top of the 3rd when Revere led off with a double and scored on a one-out grounder by Ryan Howard that the Braves would ultimately turn into a double play on catching Freddy Galvis in a rundown.
Simmons led off the bottom of the 4th with a double, and was immediately followed by a Freddie Freeman double to score him, putting Atlanta back up by 2-1. Then came what would turn out to be the decisive 5th inning, a 4-run crooked number by the hosts that would ultimately hold up.
Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin led off with singles, Maybin stealing 2nd base as well to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Foltynewicz then lofted a sac fly to right field, scoring Peterson to make it 3-1. Maybin would then score on a single by Nick Markakis, and when Simmons followed with another single, that was all for Williams.
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Jake Diekman came on, and has been the case most times so far this season, he gave something up. This time it was a 2-run double to Freeman that broke the game open at that point, putting the Braves up 6-1.
The Phillies clawed back into it in the top of the 6th. Howard led off with his 5th homer to make it 6-2. Then with one out, Odubel Herrera beat out an infield hit that held up on review. When Cesar Hernandez followed with a walk, that was it for Foltynewicz.
On came Cody Martin in relief, and after recording the 2nd out, Martin gave up a single to Jeff Francoeur that scored Herrera and made it a 6-3 game. The Braves then brought in Luis Avilan to pitch, and Revere greeted him with an rbi double, scoring Hernandez with a run making it 6-4.
The Phils appeared back in it, but Atlanta got one of those runs right back in the bottom of the 7th. Peterson drew a walk from new Phils pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, stole 2nd with one out, and scored on a two-out double from Markakis. The Braves took that 7-4 lead to the 9th, and turned the game over to their closer, Jason Grilli.
The Phillies took a run at Grilli, who yielded a leadoff single to Revere, got the next two outs, but then walked Howard to bring up Darin Ruf as the tying run. Ruf singled to score Revere, cutting the Atlanta lead down to 7-5. But then Grilli caught Herrera looking at a 3rd strike to end the ball game.
The Phils will now travel back home to Philadelphia, to a less than enthusiastic home base. The team will begin a lengthy 10-game home stand at Citizens Bank Park with a true marquee matchup on Friday night, when Cole Hamels will take on New York Mets ace Matt Harvey.