Down go the Phillies again. They’re really bad right now; they looked lethargic most of the night, and when they did make an effort it usually wound up with someone getting thrown out on the bases. The Phillies are now not only closer to last than first, they’re closer to fourth than second.
But enough about them. Jaret Wright had a solid outing, not his best, allowing eight hits in six innings, but struck out five and walked none. Was he just unluckier than Hampton? Maybe. Seemed to me that the Phillies did hit the ball hard a few times, and they got a double and a triple among the hits. The Phillies’ runs came in the bottom of the second, after the Braves had taken an early 3-0 lead, when Wright allowed three straight hits, the last a double. On a sac fly that cut it to 3-2, Andruw made a truly awful throw, and Polanco tried to score on the error, but was thrown out at the plate when Wright recovered the ball. (Polanco protested, and the tag was late, but it looked to me like his leg was over the plate, not touching it, and that the umpire made the right call.) The Phillies only seriously threatened one more time, with back to back singles leading off the sixth, but Wright got out of that with a couple of strikeouts.
The Braves had baserunners galore, with 13 hits and four walks. While getting the three runs in the first two innings they also left four men on base. And in the middle innings they couldn’t seem to get the hit with a runner in scoring position, but Andruw and Chipper hit solo homers to provide some padding. Then in the eighth, Chipper hit a two-run double with two out that basically put the game away. If you’re keeping track, Chipper now has 76 RBI with thirty games to go. Marcus had three singles — he still hasn’t found his power stroke, but he’s hitting for average — and LaRoche was 3-4 with a walk and a pair of doubles. Estrada was the only Braves starter without a hit (even Wright had an RBI single) but he did drive in the game’s first run with a groundout.
Day off tomorrow; I suggest that the Braves take the time to figure out what Travis Smith is doing in the majors. The Braves now travel to Montreal (for what has to be the last time, right?) for three. The Friday and Sunday games are on TBS, but Saturday is aliens-only… The Marlins won again, staying 8 1/2 back.
BREAKING NEWS: Jesse Garcia may be gone, but…
“Roving instructor Rafael Belliard will be joining the Braves for the final month.”
He’s back! Not to play, of course, but this gives me a chance to reproduce my favorite chart: