Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have known since before the season even began that their favorite ball club was not going to contend in the 2015 season. But this lowly season sank to new depths in an 8-2 defeat on Wednesday at the hands of the visiting Atlanta Braves.
This latest loss dropped the Phils to a new season low of 32 games below the .500 mark. It was their 19th loss in the last 28 games, and more recently their 8th in the last 10.
But perhaps even more disheartening is that the Braves entered the series 30 games below that .500 mark themselves, and had lost a dozen straight games before coming in to Citizens Bank Park.
As with most of the losses over the last few weeks, the starting pitcher was the main culprit, with a major assist from an anemic offense that is more tailored to AAA competition than the Major Leagues.
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David Buchanan got another shot at the rotation, his first appearance for the Phillies in almost a month. He was demoted back to the minors after his previous start back on August 11th at Arizona lasted just 1.2 innings in which he labored through 57 pitches, giving up 11 earned runs on 11 hits and 2 walks. This outing wasn’t much better.
Buchanan (2-8) allowed 4 earned runs on 10 hits and 3 walks over 3.1 innings. It marks his 3rd consecutive start for the Phillies in which he lasted fewer than 5 innings, but allowed a double-digits hits total.
Sep 9, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Sweeney (24) crouches down as he reacts to striking out against Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Teheran (not pictured) to end the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park.
(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
The Braves got to him right away in the top of the 1st inning, and he was fortunate to escape that one having allowed just one run. Nick Markakis led off the game with a double to left, and moved to 3rd when Hector Olivera beat out a slow-roller single. Buchanan then hit Freddie Freeman to load the bases with nobody out.
It was then that fortune struck for the already struggling Buchanan, as Nick Swisher rolled into a fortuitous 4-6-3 double play. Markakis scored on the play, putting Atlanta up by 1-0.
With the score still knotted at 1-1, Buchanan unravelled in the top of the 4th. Christian Bethancourt led it off with the 2nd home run of his big league career to break the tie.
Four of the next five Atlanta hitters then reached base on either a hit or a walk, with the only out recorded on a sacrifice bunt by Braves’ pitcher Julio Teheran.
All of that offensive action resulted in two more runs for the visitors thanks to a 2-run single by Freeman. Jerome Williams was brought in by interim manager Pete Mackanin, and he coaxed Jace Peterson into an inning-ending double play, but the Braves had a 4-1 lead.
Teheran (10-7) pitched well, holding the Phillies to just a single run on 4 hits and a pair of walks across 7 professional, workmanlike innings. Relievers Edwin Jackson and Ryan Kelly mopped up the final two innings, shutting the Phils bats out.
Atlanta would tack on solo runs in both the 6th and 7th to put some distance between themselves and any possible Phillies rally. Then ex-Phil Michael Bourn ripped a 2-out, 2-run triple in the top of the 8th to drive the rout up to the 8-1 final score.
Thanks to the defeat, the Phillies now hold a two-game “lead” over the Braves at the bottom of the NL East in a race, such as it is, for the top overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. The Phils will now welcome in the exciting young Chicago Cubs for a 4-game weekend set at Citizens Bank Park.