Since the All Star break, the Phillies have become particularly skilled at finding new and embarrassing ways to lose baseball games. Tonight, they squandered four runs and 6.2 scoreless innings from the bullpen en route to a 12-inning, 5-4 defeat against the Braves.
The decisive run came on a Dan Uggla groundball with one out and the bases loaded. The ball was hit softly and it would be tough to turn two. The throw from second on the turn appeared to beat Uggla to the bag, but Kevin Frandsen came off, letting what could have been an inning-ending doubleplay instead become a game-winning fielder’s choice. Remarkably, the run came around to score without the Braves recording a single hit in the inning. Another loss, this one coming on a first baseman coming off the bag and the Braves not getting a hit. The Phillies keep it varied at least.
ROLLINS AND MAYBERRY PRODUCE THE RUNS
– You’ve heard it a million times. As Jimmy Rollins goes, so goes the Phillies offense. Today, it looked like Rollins might power the Phils to a win. He manufactured a run in the first by singling, stealing second, advancing to third on an overthrow, and scoring a ground ball. In the second inning, John Mayberry hammered a fastball into the seats in left for a two-run dinger. Things really seemed to be going well early, and a struggling-to-get-back Brandon Beachy looked like he would be giving the Braves more of the same. And then as soon as it came everything stopped for a while. Like water rushing from a faucet that is suddenly turned off, the bats disappeared.
– That was before the seventh. This time, it was Mayberry who would start it with a single. He’d advance to second on a sac bunt, and come around to score on a Rollins double to tie the game. The offensive faucet turned back off after that, as the Phils barely even threatened after the seventh.
LANNAN ON SHORT REST, BULLPEN DOES THE REST
– From a pitching standpoint, today’s game seemed like the Phillies were climbing a mountain from the start. For the first time in his big league career, John Lannan was called upon to pitch on short rest. Though he had decent numbers against the Braves, there was no telling how much he’d have with just a three day’s respite behind him. According to our own Corey Seidman, the Phillies haven’t won a game with a pitcher starting on three day’s rest since 2008. “I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Lannan said before the game of facing a Braves offense that has been red hot. While he didn’t dazzle, he did keep the team in the game.
– Lannan looked OK early, but Justin Upton homered for the 19th time this season in the third to give the Braves their first run. Lannan ran into more trouble in the fifth when he loaded the bases with one out and Freddie Freeman at the plate. Freeman would single on the first pitch of the at bat to tie drive in 2 runs and tie the game at 3. That would be all she wrote for Lannan, who threw 76 pitches, who would have a forth run tacked onto his line after being removed from the game. From there, the bullpen would shut the Braves down, using four relievers to seal the deal. They’d only allow one hit and no runs in 6.2 innings before the Braves were able to get the lead. Even though they eventually relinquished the game, there is no way you can put this one on the ‘pen.
-The Phillies hope to stave off a sweep on National TV tomorrow when they close out their series with the Braves. Cliff Lee (10-4, 3.05) returns to action for the Phils. He’ll face Alex Wood (1-2, 3.51).