By the time the skies opened in Philadelphia, everyone was pissed. Then it started pouring and everyone was wet and pissed. Then the Phillies game ended, and everyone was wet and pissed and driving in cars. It was a good day for nobody in South Philadelphia.
Adam Morgan made the start, hoping to get the lead back after Aaron Nola's homerless streak was shattered by the limp Braves offense last night. Typically stoic Nola suffered the loss, leaving things in the hands of Morgan, for whom suffering is far too tragically common.
But not today! It wasn't until the fourth inning that Morgan ran into trouble. He actually wound up sticking around for six innings on the day, allowing only four hits and two walks on 99 pitches. But that crazy fourth inning, let me tell you: it was crazy. Crazy awful to watch, that is, because it was the Braves doing it, and somewhere, deep down, while the grey clouds gathered and the skies readied an awful retch of spew onto the city below, we knew that two runs would be more than enough to beat the empty Phillies offense.
Letting Jeff Francoeur on base with a lead-off single in the fourth is usually a bad sign, and it got worse when Nick Markakis worked a walk. Next came Ender Inciarte banging a double at which Odubel Herrera threw his body, only to end up with nothing but a mouthful of grass. Francoeur scored and Erick Aybar sac flied in Markakis to make it 2-0, and the game was over.
No, it wasn't! It indeed continued, despite poor weather and the thick sense of dread hanging in the air. Braves starter Williams Perez positively aced this lineup, which could produce only two hits and no runs on the entire day. Maikel Franco worked a walk, and Tommy Joseph - pinch hitting for Ryan Howard - got a fly ball pretty deep into the right field corner with runners on. These were two of the offensive highlights today. A walk and an out.
Perez continued what he'd started, as he has made four starts against the Phillies in his career and won all of them (despite totaling only 20 strikeouts and a 4.68 ERA over 25 IP). The Phillies can't usually connect against this guy, and tonight's lineup with Ryan Howard swinging at utter crap and hitters refusing to wait for a second pitch wasn't going to shift that trend.
The encouraging news is of course Morgan, whose performance was not one of legend, but was certainly mention-able as progress. Some of his biggest mistakes were missed pitches, and even a bunch of the Atlanta outs were hard and loud. But he kept the the suppressible Braves suppressed, giving his offense every chance to beat a pitcher with a 4.78 ERA and who has walked 61 hitters in five starts.