Aside from the first five Braves batters tonight went alright for the Phillies. As the Phillies play out the string on another rebuilding year it doesn’t much matter the outcome of the games, and so we won’t dwell on the fact that the aforementioned first five Braves batters went double, single, double, single, home run, spotting themselves to a 5-0 lead from which they would never look back. Also around that time this occurred:
Four Braves have batted. Three have scored. Fans have turned their smartphone flashlights on and are doing the Tomahawk Chop with them.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 22, 2017
Yay Braves fans. [insert eyeroll emoji]
In the grand scheme of Phillies baseball this season is serving as somewhat of a launching point for future seasons; a year in which the Phillies are finding out what they have in any number of younger players and prospects, and figuring out what holes need to be patched moving forward. It appears one of those holes will be the rotation. Ben Lively came into this game having pitched 77.2 big league innings, and in an era in which strikeouts are the currency of Major League pitchers, lively has 47 across those nearly 78 innings, good for a 14.5% K-rate, significantly below the Major League starter average of 20.6%. In other words, Lively gives up a lot more contact than the average starter, and tonight that contact doomed his start, and did him no favors in the fight for a future rotation spot.
After the 5 run first, he would go on to surrender one more run in the second inning and from there shut down the Braves, who are, in their own right, not a very good team, for the remainder of the five innings he pitched. The Bullpen, specifically Yacksel Rios, would allow one more on Kurt Suzuki’s second home run of the night, giving the Braves their full allotment of 7 runs tonight.
On the other side of the ball the Phillies offense, which has looked relatively potent as of late, was rather anemic on this night. The lone standout was Nick Williams who collected a third of the Phillies 6 hits and both of their RBI. Caesar Hernandez and Jorge Alfaro added a double each, but the Phils could muster little else this evening, going quietly into the Atlanta night.
The Phils are back at it again tomorrow at ScamTrust Park. Perhaps they’ll find a way to get hitting coach Matt Stairs into the game:
Game 154: Hitting coach Matt Stairs is taking early batting practice at SunTrust Park. He hit two dingers.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 22, 2017