The Atlanta Braves have the top record in the National League, which means they’re adept at winning games on their own merits. But for some reason, in Monday’s series opener, the Phillies seemed determined to make it easier on them. A slew of mistakes by the Phillies wasted yet another clutch home run and doomed them to a 10-8 ten inning loss.
The mistakes began early as Jake Cave misplayed a ball in left field, leading to a first inning Braves run.
In the third inning, the Braves demonstrated how blessed their season has been when a bloop found grass, leading to another run.
The Phillies answered back in the third when an Alec Bohm double drove in two to tie the game at 2.
Tie game, thanks Bohmer pic.twitter.com/5CAXTuzNKe— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 11, 2023
That score lasted until the fifth when starting pitcher Taijuan Walker decided that the best way to keep the Braves from hitting his pitches was to hit them. Two hit batters - combined with two doubles in the inning - led to three more Braves runs.
The Phillies battled back in the bottom of the inning. Bohm drove in another run with a single, and Bryson Stott followed with a double. Unfortunately, another mishap occurred on the play with Bohm being thrown out at the plate to keep the Braves’ lead at one.
A one out double in the sixth prompted Walker’s exit from the game. In came Andrew Bellatti and the Braves were quite happy to see him.
Against most teams, that four run lead should have been insurmountable. But most teams don’t have Trea Turner, who cut the deficit to two.
Thanks to Dylan Covey’s two scoreless innings (sadly, he’s one of the more reliable relief arms at the moment), the game was still within reach in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Turner reached base on an infield single, and then Bryce Harper did what Bryce Harper does in key spots.
Unfortunately, it seems that the more clutch a Phillies home run is, the quicker the bullpen is to give the runs right back. Jose Alvarado entered the game and faced Kevin Pillar who was 1-24 as a pinch hitter entering the game. He’s now 2-25.
Thanks to the ghost runner, teams can often find a way to score one run in any given extra innings, so as long as Alvarado could avoid further damage, the Phillies would have a chance. How did that work out?
Maybe it would have been different if that run hadn’t scored, but the Phillies went down in order in the bottom of the 10th, and the Braves came away with a 10-8 win.
The Phillies won’t have much time to stew in the loss. They’ll be back at it tonight for game two of the doubleheader. The optimist in me says that the Phillies got all their mistakes out of their system in game one, and will be ready to play perfect baseball in the night cap. As for the pessimist in me...let’s just say that he’s watched the Phillies’ bullpen over the past few weeks.