In a game featured as part of Fox's "nationwide" Saturday Baseball, the Phillies cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Cliff Lee pitched seven shutout innings, earning his fourth win of the season, and, in violation of MLB Rule 2012.Phillies, won two consecutive games for the first time this year.
In the process of winning the 10th of their last 14 games, the Phillies handed the Braves their 10th loss in their last 14 games. I don't know if visions of 2011 are haunting their dreams, but if not, they should be.
'Cause we bad, we nationwide.
The Phils jumped on top first, and never looked back. In the first, Jimmy "Loafer" Rollins led off with a lackadaisical single, and was replaced at first by Juan "Plays the Game the Right Way" Pierre. Ryan Howard grounded to Nuggles, who couldn't pick it cleanly, moving Pierre to third, where John Mayberry was able to drive him home.
In the third, Rollins slacked a homerun off the right field foul pole for what would prove to be the winning run. Chase Utley's double in the fifth scored Pierre. In the sixth, Cliff Lee drew a bases loaded walk, chasing Tim Hudson, and Ty Wigginton followed with an RBI force-out.
Lee was pulled after seven clean innings, scattering five hits and a walk against five strikeouts on only 93 pitches; and the Phillies turned to B.J. Rosenberg. Yeah, that guy. Rosenberg promptly allowed a homerun to Martin Prado, for the Braves' only run of the day. Antonio Bastardo came on to record the final
four five (h/t Yolacrary) outs, including strikeouts of Jason Heyward, Larry Jones, Freddie Freeman and Paul Janish to secure the win.
I want to talk about Juan Pierre (who cleared waivers today) for a second. There has been a lot of discussion lately, about the different terms used to describe players, and to what extent that depends on their ethnicity. After Pierre's fifth inning single, Larry Anderson, on the Phillies' radio broadcast, chimed in: "The thing about Pierre is, he shows up early every day, even if he's not in the lineup. He's such a great example to the younger guys, the Dom Browns, the John Mayberrys; he really plays the game the right way."
Yes. That actually happened. For whatever it's worth.
Fangraph of Lucky Strikes:
Another thing I find amusing is Fox's nationwide broadcast. There were three games on today's edition of Saturday Baseball, Angels-Mariners, Giants-Cubs, and Phillies-Braves. Apparently the good folks at Fox assume everyone on the West Coast are Angels' or Mariners' fans. Because why should I be a fan of a team that's 3,000 miles away when there's a perfectly good team 2,000 miles away. Whatever.
With the win, the Phillies "improve" to 64-69, moving up to within five games of .500 for the season. Their play in the last few weeks is certainly much improved from earlier in the year, and, as the radio broadcast highlighted today, they are within 7.5 games of the NL's second Wildcard. A man can dream, but the Phils stand virtually no chance of a playoff spot. What they do stand a real chance of accomplishing, however, is crushing Atlanta's playoff hopes for a second year in a row.
Yeah we bad, we nationwide.
The Phillies' victory clenches the series win, but the season series between the two teams now stands 5-9 in favor of the Braves. Game three of series is tomorrow evening, at 5:05PM, as Cole Hamels, freshly recovered from a case of the shits takes on Atlanta's Paul Maholm.