Phillies 6, Braves 5

Meh. The Braves lost their third in a row last night on a walk-off Freddy Galvis home run. It may well have been heart-breaking if the game meant more than post-season positioning. Maybe it was anyway. Either way, the Nationals, who won, are basically out of the picture, and the Dodgers, who lost, failed to pick up a game. And so in the end, the Braves maintained their slim 2-game lead on the National League.

Good things about Saturday’s contest: Freddie Freeman kept hitting; Chris Johnson spit on the regression skeptics; and Andrelton Simmons, who has been white hot, remained so with a game-tying 9th-inning home run off Jonathan Papelbon. As far as the final result was concerned, it didn’t end up mattering. But Simmons has recently laid solid claim to being the Braves most valuable player for the 2013 season. Both his 4.3 fWAR and 6.1 rWAR lead the team, and lead it convincingly.

Bad things about Saturday’s contest: B.J. Upton struck out all four of his plate appearances, and has turned from suck to blow; both Justin Upton and Brian McCann went hitless, and are both now officially struggling;* and the pitching staff, on the whole, was awful. Alex Wood was the primary culprit there – he failed to make it out of the 5th inning – but everyone deserves some blame when the pitchers toss 8.1 innings and allow 6 runs, 15 hits, 5 walks, and 1 home run. Oh, and another thing. While it’s true that Fredi wants to give his big guns some rest these days, let’s not kid ourselves into believing that that’s the reason Freddy Garcia, and not Craig Kimbrel, pitched the 9th: Kimbrel hadn’t pitched for 4 days. No, Garcia was in there because this was a road game, and everyone knows that you don’t let your closer pitch in a tie game on the road. That’s too bad, though, because Garcia has now served up 17 home runs in under 61 innings this year.

We shouldn’t write off last night’s game, or for that matter the craptastic baseball Atlanta has played since Kameron Loe started a game on Wednesday, as entirely meaningless. It’s true that the Dodgers haven’t made up much ground, but the Cardinals have. If the season ended today Atlanta would be in the fine position of facing the winner of the wild card match-up between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, while the Dodgers and Cardinals would square off in a battle of villains. But the Braves should also be wary of falling out of that top spot. Having to face either Los Angeles or St. Louis in the NLDS would not be ideal – and hey, we’ve also been reminded this weekend (yet again) of how well the team plays on the road: perhaps home field advantage matters for this team a great deal. Let’s keep it.

*over the past month, Upton and McCann, respectively, are hitting .182/.292/.338 and .233/.282/.370.

61 thoughts on “Phillies 6, Braves 5”

  1. great recap, thanks..

    watching McCann last night I found myself thinking the heretical thought – it would be better to let him go…he has been pulling everything, for weeks…one AB last night was truly awful.

    I don’t pretend to understand hitting, why there are these extremes of performance, happening so frequently – you do not find this in other sports I follow…Vettel won at Monza today as per usual..he does not come out the next week and drive like a dog..nor does Jorge Lorenzo lose the extraordinary skill required to corner a bike at 130 mph with his knees and elbows brushing the tarmac- he does it every week… Messi/Ronaldo if they came out and played one game like the Uptons do, or McCann is currently doing, they would be howled off the pitch. Just one!!

    Uggla I can understand, he’s done…it’s the others, they look so pathetic half the time, then they can dazzle you for a few days…

    You are more than aware I have never played a game of baseball in my life…Soccer/Cricket/Rugby, yes, raced bikes too for 20 years..nowhere did you come across people who were brilliant one week, hopeless the next…you were who you were, you performed at a certain level with incremental variances for good/bad days…you watched and competed with others doing the same…what is it about hitting that allows for these absurd variances?

    Education required please!

  2. Pitchers and hitters are constantly adjusting to each other, to changes in their own mechanics that they didn’t intend, to possible injuries of varying degrees. We should be thankful that they generally don’t deem it worthwhile to also adjust to the myopia of their own fans.

  3. so clearly these eyes are myopic
    on this somewhat technical topic
    adjustments they mention
    attracting attention
    to what can be deemed microscopic.

  4. I’d be willing to bet that wide variance in annual performance is the rule not the exception – the confirmation bias of disproportionately seeing exceptions creates the illusion that this is not the case.

  5. This variance in skill happens all the time in tennis. How well a particular person will play on a particular day does not fall within a particularly tight range. Andy Murray, almost certainly the second or third best tennis player in the world, just played a really really crappy match in the quarters of one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world a few days ago, and that stuff just happens all the time.

  6. It seems that, other than the outburst against Dice-K and the Mets, the offense has been, shall we say, hit in the face since Heyward went down. I just read where Heyward has resumed light baseball activities. Maybe now the rest of the team can resume light baseball activities as well.

  7. Not really building much momentum for the post season these last few games. September hibernation mode in full effect

  8. Did Chip really just say “And now BJ is up with a chance to add to his offensive drought”? Because that’s what I thought I heard.

  9. The White Bear is uncaged!

    Also bears mentioning (pun not intended, but it’s welcome) that he also made an out to the deepest part of centerfield.

  10. Ugh.

    Now the question this raises is, “How far could El Oso Blanco hit a home run off of our bullpen?”

  11. I say 8-8. They weren’t that great last year – a lot of noise in that record – and the conference has improved. Plus, you know: no offensive line.

  12. @48, I think nine wins is too high – schedule is brutal and the have no OL and no defense. Spent all the money on two players and it shows.

  13. It’s a good thing the Braves are facing bad teams with nothing to play for. Otherwise we’d be in trouble.

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