Not exactly how you drew it up, but the guys shook hands at the end of the evening.
In the early going, it was a textbook version of the Good Hammers: Max Fried was pitching pretty well, and the offense bided its time until hanging a five-spot on Zack Wheeler, a guy who normally kills us. After the fifth inning, we were up 6-1 on homers by Matt Olson (tying Andruw Jones‘s record), Marcell Ozuna, and Ronald Acuña Jr. But those were early returns. The latter part of the game was like a redux of the first game on Monday.
Fried came out after just 87 pitches, likely because Snitker is still working to manage his workload as he comes back from his lengthy time on the shelf. Michael Tonkin rebounded from a rough outing in Pittsburgh on Saturday to throw two innings, allowing one run. That took us to the 7th inning, with Atlanta up 6-2. But the Phillies have a very good offense, and our bullpen has badly scuffled against them on this trip.
So Joe Jimenez came in and immediately crapped the bed, yielding a solo homer to Bryce Harper and a two-run homer to Bryson Stott, who’d entered the game as a pinch hitter two innings before. That cut the deficit to 6-5, which did not leave enough Reitsma Room for Raisel Iglesias, who did not enter the game with the full trust of the Braves Journal Faithful, and who lived down to expectations by immediately serving up a game-tying home run to Trea Turner.
I think Joe Jimenez has been better than we give him credit for; his poor reputation with the fans on this board is largely because of an awful run in May where he gave up runs in six of the 11 appearances he made that month. Since then, he’s been pretty lights-out: a 2.78 ERA, 3.57 FIP, .220/.271/.407 batting line against, 69% strike percentage, 11.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 (good for a cool 5.1 K/BB), and those numbers include last night.
Iglesias missed April, and he had a bad start to his season, too: his ERA didn’t come below 4.00 until Independence Day, and that was a game on which he gave up a walkoff single to score the Manfred Man, which meant that the run was unearned and his ERA came down. Still, he too has been better than we give him credit for, I think. Since July, he has a 2.33 ERA, 2.93 FIP, .222/.282/.323 batting line against, 69% strike percentage, 10.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 (3.4 K/BB), and those numbers include last night, too. He’s not exactly Peak Craig Kimbrel, but then again, neither is Craig Kimbrel, who was credited with the loss last night on an unearned run as Eddie Rosario singled home the Manfred Man.
Iglesias shouldn’t be immune to criticism, but he shouldn’t get more than he deserves, either.
I gave a lengthy defense of the trade to acquire Jimenez in the comment thread shortly after his meltdown, because again, he really has been quite good for us. But just like our starters had a collective dead-arm period a few weeks ago, our pen seems to be going through something similar right now, particularly as the Phillies have a lot more to play for at the moment than we do.
In the meantime, the Magic Number to win the division is 2, and the team record is 95-50. The team is the envy of baseball and has been all year, and has so many weapons that multiple players can play poorly for weeks at a time and the team can continue winning at a .650 clip. The Phillies are a good team, but they only have one more win than the Cubs, and the Marlins, Reds, Diamondbacks, and Giants are all nipping at their heels in the Wild Card race. They currently hold the first Wild Card spot by 3.5 games, so it’s not like their backs are against the wall. But they need to keep their foot on the gas.
Spencer Strider vs. Christopher Sanchez tonight. I’m sure a lot of people in the clubhouse would love to see Spencer put himself back into contention for the Cy Young, which his current 3.83 ERA all but precludes. Go get ’em, kid!