Ben Franklin once said, “It’s not solo home runs that kill you, but late inning lead-off walks.” And last night showed the truth of that statement.
As an aside, before getting to the gory details, I was wondering who each of the Founding Fathers would be if they had a modern baseball equivalent. Franklin, to me, ahead of his time and scientifically inclined would be Earl Weaver, who’s ‘pitching, defense, and three run homers’ philosophy was sabremetric’s intellectual predecessor by two decades. George Washington, a general who’s strength lay in the ability to hold his
clubhouse army together despite an occasional questionable battlefield decision has to be Bobby Cox. James Madison would be a steady, underrated Hall of Fame talent like Eddie Murray while Alexander Hamilton would be another great talent who’s career was cut short by injury, like Herb Score. Thomas Jefferson gave me the most trouble – a once-in-a-lifetime great who wound up on the wrong side of America’s future. Barry Bonds perhaps? John Adams was the successor to Washington, and just couldn’t maintain the success, so he has to be Fredi Gonzalez.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled recap.
Last night saw Anibal Sanchez toe the rubber against Jameson Taillon. Sanchez gave up two runs, a second inning RBI single to Elias Diaz, and a sixth inning single to David Freese. He left with two on and one out, but Sam Freeman ‘induced’ a lineout double play to escape further damage.
Meanwhile Taillon was shutting down the Braves bats, as he allowed only four baserunners in the first five innings, two hits by Ender Inciarte, a walk to Dansby Swanson, and hit Johan Camargo with a pitch. He was cruising until Ronald Acuna, Jr hit one out into left to start the sixth. Camargo then led off the seventh with a liner into the Chop House to tie it up leading off the seventh.
In the eighth Brad Brach walked Adam Frazier, who pinch hit for Taillon. That walk came home to roost when Starling Marte hit a tailor made double play grounder that Ozzie Albies booted. After a fly ball moved Frazier to third, Gregory Polanco muscled a high fastball into center for the winning run.
So, the Braves have lost three in a row, and the Phillies have crept to within two games of the lead. But it’s September 1st, and there’s only 28 games left to play. It’s not time to panic yet, and as the gNatspos have run up the white flag by trading Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Madson, it is looking more and more likely that the division will be decided by the seven games left between Atlanta and Philadelphia over the last ten days of the season.
So come on gentlemen – this is the time that try men’s souls. Let’s buckle down during this brief Valley Forge stretch and win through.