Baseball isn’t that hard. When your offense scores a lot of runs, and your pitching staff doesn’t give up too many, you tend to win a lot of games. The trouble is, the Phillies haven’t been able to follow that formula with much consistency this year. Fortunately, on Monday night, the Phillies’ offense and pitching both performed well, and they came away with a 7-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves didn’t exactly put their best lineup on the field. The starting pitcher was recent call-up Tucker Davidson, the centerfielder was left fielder Adam Duvall, and the left fielder was catcher William Contreras. Sometimes you can get away with wacky stuff like that; the Braves did not. Davidson walked four batters in his 2.2 innings, and the Braves outfielders looked vaguely disinterested in chasing down balls. Combined with some well-timed hits, and the Phillies jumped out to a 7-0 lead after four innings.
That was plenty of run support for Zack Wheeler. His night started out on a bit of a shaky note, giving up three hits in the first inning. But thanks to this throw by Roman Quinn, the Braves came away with zero runs.
Wheeler didn’t have much difficulty after that. He gave up two runs in 6.2 innings, striking out ten batters along the way. The Phillies bullpen allowed a solo run in the eighth, but they never really mounted much of a threat.
It’s nice to see the Phillies can follow a winning formula and come away with a relatively easy win - especially against a division opponent. Will they be able to replicate the effort the rest of the series, especially if the Braves field a more competitive lineup? That hasn’t proven to be quite so easy this year.