Well, I see I didn’t miss much in the second game.
The Braves trailed for nearly all of the first game. Villarreal was adequate, going five and giving up three runs. He had homer issues, allowing a first-inning two-run shot and a fifth-inning solo homer, both to Ace Chutley. Seven hits in all, three strikeouts, only one walk. He certainly didn’t pitch his way out of the rotation (not that there was much danger of that after the second game.)
But the Braves couldn’t get any runs for him. Finally, in the seventh, Francoeur and LaRoche (The French Connection, as someone said in comments) got on second and third, and Daryle Ward made his Braves debut with a pinch-hit two-run single.
Still 3-2. But Flash Gordon is on the DL, and the Phillies are doing the closer-by-committee thing which as we know works so well. Ryan Madson started the inning. Francoeur reached on an infield single. This led Manuel to go to the lefty, Arthur Rhodes. LaRoche promptly hit a two-run homer, his third hit of the game, to make it 4-3. Wickman nailed it down; Kali got the win for somehow not giving up any runs in the eighth, striking out Chutley with two out and the bases loaded.
Do I have to talk about the nightcap? I guess I do. Ugh.
Started well; Chipper homered in Orr (Marcus is “under the weather”, which is often code for “hung over”, but let’s not speculate) in the first. Davies had nothing. Run in the first, three in the second, and he didn’t get out of the third, eventually being charged with three more runs. He allowed ten hits, including a homer. Not good.
Ken “Tampa Bay Devil” Ray gave up two more runs in the fourth, then Bobby hung poor Anthony Lerew out there to take one for the team, giving up five runs in two innings. Devine, who had pitched a scoreless inning in the first game, pitched another in the second (striking out two each time) and Paronto pitched the ninth unscathed.
I’m just glad I didn’t have to see it. LaRoche did have two more hits, is up to .296 for the season, and is officially the best player in the league right now. Bobby is so intent on getting McCann a shot at the batting title that he caught both games, but the batting title really isn’t in the cards when you go 1-8, and he needs a rest.
I was at the Alabama game and have recapped it. Mike Shula is a terrific recruiter, he’s established some professionalism (not that kind, Wryn!) in a program that needed it, and I actually like the design of his offense. But God, is he a terrible playcaller.