In a classic pitchers’ duel on a cold, windy night in Philadelphia, Julio Teheran had himself a ballgame. He threw a 3-hit shutout, did not walk anyone, and pitched like he was trying to make you forget the Braves don’t have an “Ace”. For some strange reason, the native Colombian excels in cold weather.
For the first seven innings Teheran was in complete command, giving up only an infield hit in the 5th to, of all people, the speedster Ryan Howard. He was not quite as dominant in the 8th and 9th, allowing a hit in each frame, but he managed to outduel Cliff Lee, who in very Cliff Lee-like form also went the distance. Anyone who can do that is very impressive. The ninth got downright tense, when it looked like Chase Utley might draw a walk with Jimmy Rollins already on base and Ryan Howard on deck, but Teheran wiggled out of it, retiring Utley on a groundout to preserve the win. What may be even more impressive is that Teheran shutout the Phillies despite a tight strike zone that seemed to get even tighter in the last innings.
Unfortunately for Evan Gattis, he chose to have his best game of the season on a night that his pitcher overshadowed him. He went 4-for-4, including a 4th inning homer he muscled out of the park over a strong wind that had been killing fly balls all night. He accounted for the only run of the evening. I think El Oso really likes hitting in Philly.
Although Lee went the distance, he was not very dominant. The Braves managed 11 hits against him, but could not do anything with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base for the evening. I know they were facing Cliff Lee tonight, but they really need to get better at cashing in on some of these scoring opportunities. They struck out 13 times tonight, but that is what they do against Lee.
Regression was back from his mysterious benching, demoted to seventh in the lineup. He went 3-for-4 with a couple of quintessential Regression-like hits to right field. Dan Uggla picked up another hit tonight and a couple of his outs were hit hard, and BJ Upton hit a single and miraculously drew a walk off of Lee, a rare feat indeed for a Brave. Positive signs continue for both of our resident Mendoza Line dodgers.
The Phillies conducted a Nationals-esque play in the third inning, when BJ attempted to swipe second. Lee had him picked off, but inexplicably no one covered second base. Howard threw to Jimmy Rollins, who was standing six feet away from the bag, while BJ slid in safely. The play had no bearing on the final score, but it was still odd to see a NL East rival botch yet another fundamental play.
In honor of the previous post by Bledsoe, which was both brilliant and convincing, I may take a page out of Cato the Elder’s book and end all of my recaps this year with this, regardless of our opponent:
Natspo(s) delenda est.