Braves complete sweep of Phillies, remain game back of division lead

It’s a fairly uncommon Sunday win for me to recap!

The Braves came back home to Atlanta having lost two series in a row, prompting some wringing of hands about the team’s prospects for the division title after not fully taking advantage of the Mets losing 5-of-7 to horrible teams. This would mark the second time these lamentations have proved premature by my count. After a three-game sweep of the potentially playoff-bound Phillies, we’re down a game going into a week where we play horrendous Washington and the Mets have to play the potentially playoff-bound Brewers.

The Braves pulled away late for a 5-2 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, getting an outstanding start from Spencer Strider and some more timely hitting to complete a sweep that throws the Phillies playoff hopes back into some flux.

Strider was outstanding through six innings, getting through the opening 5 2/3 without allowing a hit. Unfortunately, the one hit he did allow was a game-tying home run to Alec Bohm in the sixth (on which Michael Harris almost made a play that we would’ve been comparing to the Otis Nixon catch in 1992 for the best catch in franchise history…but almost doesn’t count, alas). He left after the sixth, having allowed just the one hit and one run while striking out 10. He did walk three, which helped to drive his pitch count up and meant he almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to finish even if his no-hitter had continued (in fact, it was looking like the sixth was gonna be it for him regardless). He finished with 106 pitches.

Offensively, the Braves started the scoring in the third when Robbie Grossman doubled home Harris, who led off the inning with a double. Right after the Phillies tied the game in the top of the sixth, William Contreras answered in the bottom half with a bomb of his own to happily give Strider the lead back before officially being lifted, giving him a chance to win the game (I know it’s en vogue around here to act like a win is totally worthless, but Strider deserved it…sue me for being happy about it if you want to).

Additionally, there was no hibernation mode today. Up 2-1 in the seventh, the Braves proceeded to add on in each of their next two times at bat. Grossman continued his left-handed renaissance (or his clowning of the narrative of his demise as a left-handed hitter when we traded for him, whichever is more accurate) with a homer into the Chop House seats to make it 3-1. Later in the inning, Ronald Acuna doubled and Austin Riley singled him home to make it 4-1. In the eighth, Marcell Ozuna doubled home Harris to add the fifth and final run.

As far as relief goes, Tyler Matzek gave the Phillies probably their best scoring chance of the game in the seventh, allowing a hit and a walk with the Braves up just 2-1. He got out of the mess with a pair of strikeouts, though, and the Phillies were down 4-1 with six outs to work with the next time they came to the plate. A.J. Minter followed in the eighth with a hit allowed and strikeout. Jesse Chavez allowed a garbage-time home run en route to picking up an Atlanta Save (which maybe doesn’t really qualify as an Atlanta Save since our top relievers were not taking part in it…I’ll have to check with the judges on that one).

So we’re still just a game back going into a three-game home set against Washington. As I mentioned, the Mets have to travel to a desperate Milwaukee for three games. I know Milwaukee isn’t great, but maybe we can get at least a little bit of help this week. The schedule goes back to Advantage Mets next weekend with the Braves in Philadelphia for four and the Mets in Oakland for three.

35 thoughts on “Braves complete sweep of Phillies, remain game back of division lead”

  1. I am happily JC’ed, Nick. Anyone who wants to rehash old arguments should go back to the previous thread. No reason to interrupt the sweep celebration here.

  2. With Braves track record of signing guys to Long term contracts .. might need to be cautious with Dansby .. I love Dansby so I’m hoping he stays but I’ve seen declines in Acuna, Riley , Ozuna and Olson after we’ve signed them to Long term .. Harris is the only one that hasn’t yet declined .. but I’m hoping Dansby is back .. he is our best clutch hitter ..

  3. Thanks, Nick. Great to get a Sunday win; although the team’s Sunday performance has wavered, your Sunday performance has remained steadfast.

    @2–What makes this blog special is that the discussion is largely well-informed, evidence-based, and civil and respectful (as opposed to the kind of knee-jerk, ill-informed, and ad hominem stuff you get elsewhere on sports blogs, and all over the internet for that matter). Your comments yesterday were a shining example of those qualities: the patient explanation and citation to evidence, the humility expressed about what we can know from evidence, and the good humored tone.

    Now, if only someone had the patience to respond so well to the commenter @4 above. I’m afraid after hearing the same ill-informed point being made repeatedly for weeks, I don’t have that patience.

  4. Tfloyd, have you signed a big contract with someone that has possibly caused you to have less patience? 😉

  5. I’m still just so disappointed about Ozzie’s most recent injury and I think I’m ready to make an observation: he’s fragile, and the Braves should not be relying on him to play 2B 150+ games a year for the life of his contract. Over the last 3 seasons, he will have played in only 64% of the team’s regular season games, and I just don’t see that getting better as he gets older. He is simply brittle: he’s broken bones sliding into bases and simply swinging the bat (twice). It’s one thing to miss time getting hit in the face or hand with a pitch or something freak. And while each one of Ozzie’s injuries could be considered “freak”, they add up to show that the ole bones are a little brittle.

  6. @9 Those sound like valid points, Rob. I still think that this pinky fracture was caused by Segura stepping on Ozzie though. Kind of a freak injury in theory.

  7. Jonathan F
    Kindly read Dr. Randal S Olson writing from July 04 2018. It does not prove my point just interesting.
    In addition I ask a friend from Tampa and Miami newspapers to speak with players from both teams of the record, their opinion of hitters in front and after. Like you, I take great pride in education. Being correct is important, but not over being stupid.
    If pitching wins is important, why did the wrong pitcher get the win Saturday? I know MLB rules. Apparently MLB does consider it important. Or maybe they are just stupid.

  8. @11 just read an article on fangraphs saying it was jammed sliding into Seguras foot, not the base.
    So it wasn’t stepped on either.
    Hmmm, I think you may be onto something with brittle bones, with the freak elbow and now foot injuries from just batting….

    If he gets another injury for no reason , I propose we nickname him Mr Glass!

  9. @9 And he’s signed longterm too. Recipe for disaster!

    Waiting for Harris to bellyflop after he signs his big deal.

  10. I think I remember Ozzie having a broken-bone-type injury in the minors as well. Maybe it was at Rome in 2015, when he only played 98 of his team’s 140 games.

    P.S. Regardless of his fragility, Ozzie is my favorite player on the team. He just brings joy to the game, and he’s the one player I would be most disappointed to learn negative things about. Even though he almost certainly won’t have the HOF career that wasn’t out of the question when he came up, I hope he retires a Brave after 15 or so successful years with the team.

  11. @14 These players just get lazy as soon as they sign these deals, human nature being what it is. Perhaps they could be forced to wear shock collars that Bravey could control remotely. That would provide the proper motivation.

  12. The guys on the radio just said that winning the Cy Young is all about wins and if Kyle Wright isn’t a candidate, no one is. I knew that would particularly bless a few of you.

  13. From a different sport, football, but I had to laugh at the quote from the Arizona State athletic director when asked what they’ll be looking for in a new coach.

    “The ones who are really into analytics and all that data stuff” will be more prominently positioned.” I would vote for JonathanF.

  14. Good for Joey. I like those stories of players that persevere and make it to the bigs.

    We need to add-on. I doubt we’ll be getting any help from the Brewers tonight.

  15. Random facts about Jesse Chavez:

    He has played for 9 teams, four of them more than once. Going into tonight’s game, his 3.35 ERA, .643 winning percentage (9-5), and 1.9 bWAR with the Braves were his 2nd best ERA, 3rd best winning percentage, and 2nd best bWAR. He had a 1.81 ERA in 44 IP over parts of two years with the Cubs and went 2-1 with the Cubs and 1-0 with the Dodgers in 25 IP during part of one year. He had 2.5 bWAR with Oakland over 3 full years and part of a fourth.

    The Braves first acquired him for Rafael Soriano (I vaguely remember a financial issue or something there) before the 2010 season. He posted a 5.89 ERA before going to Kansas City at the trade deadline as part of the deal that brought Rick Ankiel & Kyle Farnsworth. Some of his teammates who were younger than Chavez and at the time seemed more likely to be playing in 2022 are Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, (Kimbrel is younger too, but at least he’s still playing), Tommy Hanson (RIP), Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy, Jo-Jo Reyes, Kris Medlen, Mike Dunn, Brian McCann, Martin Prado, Melky Cabrera, and Gregor Blanco.

  16. That’s cool info from the way back machine JamesD84. The Braves had some really promising young hurlers back then. Seemed like more than normal had their careers cut short by injury. And I’d just as soon never be reminded of the MelkMan again. I don’t want any picture in my mind of that turd in a Braves uni.

  17. Those are great notes on Chavez. Great research, James. I’ve been meaning to look back and see all of the people we have acquired in trades for him over these years. Seems like we sign him, get some good innings and then trade for other parts. The gift that keeps on giving.

    Another good win! We need more people talking trash about Riley and Olsen, apparently. It’s working (unlike those contracts.)

  18. A nice stress free win.

    Good for Wright to get his 19th win. I know it doesn’t mean much, but I would love him to get to 20. He would be the first Brave since Russ Ortiz to reach that mark, I believe I heard the radio guys say. I wouldn’t have guessed that.

  19. Russ Ortiz led the league in wins AND walks! in 2003. Whip of 1.3 and ERA barely above league average but finished 4th in Cy Young voting (lol) because he pitched a lot of innings for a team with a great offense and racked up them wins.

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