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Phillies 6, Braves 1: Bullpen Death Match

Nobody wanted to win this game less than the Phillies. But they wonned! And they clawed back to within...ahhh nevermind.

The Hand of De Fratus
The Hand of De Fratus
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I had a meeting tonight until 9:00 p.m. I figured I would get home and catch the end of the game. Mission accomplished.

I walked into a 1 - 0 Phillies lead, with Cole Hamels having just wrapped up 7 sparkling innings. Julio Teheran of the Braves had 8 sparkling innings, though. At the time, the Phillies had a 1 run lead on Ryan Howard's solo homer in the second inning...just...over...the...wall in center. I know, right? HIGH SCHOOL FIELD.

Cole Hamels walked 2, struck out 6, and scattered 5 hits while working up a FIP of 2.243.  He has been great this year, since getting a late start. His scoreless inning streak is over 20 innings now. A fat lot of good it has done in the win-loss mark, but it is not his fault that the Phillies have a dreadful offense.

Teheran struck out 6, walked none, and scattered four hits, though the homer to Howard was a pretty big hit. His FIP was 3.225.

Lots of stuff happened tonight after I started to watch. To begin with, Jake Diekman pitched the eighth for the Phillies. He gave up two hits, but struck out two, including Evan Gattis, who makes my son hide under the couch. The whiff of Gattis came looking after Freddie Freeman had singled to left, putting BJ Upton at second.

The Phillies tried to get an insurance run in the ninth behind singles by Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd, but it was not to be. Domonic Brown struck out to end the threat, but hey! A lead in the ninth! Papelbon! Woohoo!

Nope. Papelbon was bled to death by bloops and bleeders. He ultimately gave up the tying run with nothing hit hard. It was, in Papelbon's slo-mo style, a painful, painful process to watch. With Cole Hamels lined up to get a win, it was inevitable that there would be bullpen chicanery, though. The death blow was a floater to right off the bat of Andrelton Simmons that landed exactly between Byrd, Ben Revere, and Utley. It took a year and a half to land.

So, off to extra innings we go. "Bonus baseball" is what it is sometimes called. I do criminal defense work in my real job. I would analogize extra innings games to the time in Pennsylvania that folks who serve state prison sentences end up serving after they reach their minimum date where the can theoretically be released (nine innings) and when they actually get paroled and hit the street (the extra innings). Each inning is one that we wish we really didn't need to experience.

So, as I was saying, off to extra innings.

Did I mention that the young 'uns in the bullpen are looking kind of good lately? Diekman did his job in the 8th. In the 10th, we got to see Justin De Fratus. He struck out BJ Upton looking. Freddie Freeman then hit a ball that went far out to left, to the track, the top of the wall. Dom Brown should have caught this ball. He did not. Experience it on talk radio for the next 5 years. It was pretty bad in just so many ways. Freeman ended up at third.

At this point, De Fratus turned into the Red Hulk.

His slider was deadly tonight. He does not have a crackling fastball, but since he has been back from Lehigh Valley, his slider has been making him look mighty fine. Well, he used it to fabulous effect when the chips were down. Evan Gattis was intentionally walked and lifted for a pinch runner, neutralizing his bat for the rest of the game. De Fratus got Justin Upton to pop out to first. Then he struck out Chris Johnson in an at bat that was just absolutely full of good sliders.

Maybe I jumped the gun. After the strike out, De Fratus *definitely* turned into the Red Hulk, pumping his fist in a way that Hamels and Papelbon could only dream of. Dom Brown owes him a few drinks.

A series of well-pitched innings and uninspired at bats rolled by from both Atlanta and the Phillies. Mario Hollands and Antonio Bastardo were effective, as were the leaping Jordan Walden for the Braves and Anthony Varvaro. In the Phillies' half of the 12th, Bracing Ride Reid Brignac was nonplussed by a called strike (that was outside) and engaged the home plate umpire in a polite discussion of the nature of the strike zone. He was not tossed because, well, he's polite, I guess.

In the 13th inning, the Phillies started to show signs of undeath. Ben Revere singled and stole second. Rollins lifted a sacrifice fly to right to move Revere to third. Utley was intentionally walked and David Hale faced Ryan Howard. Howard, after fouling a ball of his foot, drilled a ball to Freddie Freeman, who let it through the 5 hole.


E3, and a run scored with Utley advancing to third. Marlon Byrd singled, scoring Utley. The runners moved up on a wild pitch. Domonic Brown was intentionally walked to load the bases. Carlos Ruiz then hit a sac fly to plate Howard and move Byrd to third. Racing Bride Reid Brignac came to the plate and dribbled a 3 - 2 pitch into the gap just...past...Heyward for a triple.

That was easy! The Phillies were up 6 - 1, and we got to enjoy that rarest of occurrences, an at-bat by Antonio Bastardo. He did not disappoint. If you watch any highlight other than De Fratus striking out Johnson, watch Bastardo's at bat if you can find it tomorrow.

Bastardo took the first six pitches (actually *all* of the pitches) and seemed somewhat stunned that he earned a walk. I don't think he remembered what to do for a second, then he pitched his bat and trotted to first. It was an extra innings moment. Revere chopped a ball to second for the last out. He was the tenth, and final, batter to come to the plate.

Bastardo got pinch hitter Dan Uggla to pop up to Utley for the first out of the bottom of the 13th. Justin Upton popped out in foul territory just at the edge of the seats. Chris Johnson prolonged the inevitable with a single just over a leaping Utley, prompting a sad, lonely, canned Tomahawk Chop from the scoreboard operator. Tommy La Stella wisely grounded out to Ryan Howard to let us all go to bed.

Fangraph of De Fratus!

Source: FanGraphs