As you may have heard, before this series began, I said that the Atlanta Braves’ rate of winning was unsustainable (trademark pending), and that the Phillies would take three out of four games. I may have been a bit too optimistic about the Phillies (They are running guys like Jason Vargas and Drew Smyly out there after all), but I was probably spot on about the Braves. They have some definite weaknesses which the Phillies were able to once again exploit on Thursday night. The result was a 9-5 win and series split.
The aforementioned Smyly didn’t get off to a good start, giving up a home run to Ozzie Albies one batter after Rhys Hoskins committed a fielding error.
But that setback wasn’t going to be a problem for the Phillies. Because after a one-night hiatus, the dingers were back! Cesar Hernandez led off the game with a home run, and Adam Haseley and Jean Segura both added two-run shots in the next two innings. (Surprisingly, none of the home runs was hit by Bryce Harper, who has a history of dominating Braves starter Julio Teheran. )
After that, the Braves tried to hit their way back into the game, but the Phillies kept saying, “That’s nice, but we’re just going to score even more runs.” Hernandez added another RBI in the sixth, and J.T. Realmuto provided the team with some much needed breathing room with a homer in the eighth.
Even fan favorite Sean Rodriguez got into the act with an RBI double that delighted the crowd. That was more than enough for Hector Neris who shut the door on the Braves with a four-out save.
The season series between the teams is now tied at eight wins apiece. That makes me wonder how the Braves have established such a substantial lead in the National League East. The Phillies have shown that the Braves certainly aren’t an unbeatable powerhouse, so why hasn’t anyone else been able to beat them?
Although considering the Braves’ next opponent is the Nationals, if the Braves want to resume playing above their heads this weekend, that’s just fine by me.