Domonic Brown’s three-run homer in a five-run eighth inning brought the Phillies back from a four run deficit. The problem, again, was the bullpen. Jake Diekman gave up a grand slam to Dan Uggla in the top of the ninth, and the Braves won 9-6.
Hernandez Sweats, Bullpen Wrecks
-Jake Diekman, ugh. After the Phillies take a lead with a ridiculous eighth inning, Diekman was awful and gave up a grand slam to Dan Uggla. We’ve been over it with the bullpen time and again, so no sense harping on what everyone knows. It has killed this team.
-BJ Rosenberg was summoned to keep the game close in the eighth but failed to do so. Miserably. Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla, and Andrelton Simmons hit back-to-back-to-back bombs to blow the game open. Ryne Sandberg really didn’t want to use BJ Rosenberg, but did, and paid for it.
With the three straight home runs from the only three batters he faced, BJ Rosenberg became the only pitcher in the last 100 years to do so.
-Roberto Hernandez pitched admirably but completely ran out of gas. He was sweating like a roofer in summer, yet it was a cool, comfortable 70 degrees in the later innings. The Phillies left him out entirely too long, especially after he allowed a two-run homer to Evan Gattis in the sixth. All told, he somehow finished six innings, throwing 118 pitches, walking six (one intentionally) and striking out three.
-Ervin Santana was excellent, following up on his eight shutout innings last week. The Braves righty struck out 11 batters in six innings, allowing four hits and just the one run.
-That one run came off the bat of The Big Piece. Ryan Howard got the Phillies on the board in the second inning with his third home run of the season. He also struck out three times, including in the eighth inning with the bases loaded.
Utley’s Streak Continues
-Chase Utley struck out in his first two plate appearances, but extended his hitting streak to 11 games this season – and 16 dating back to last year – with a double in the sixth inning. He’s the first Phillie to start a season with an 11 game hitting streak since Don Demeter in 1963. Demeter’s streak reached 12 that year. Utley’s finished 2 for 5, his average dipping to .489 (22 for 45).
-Uncharacteristically, Carlos Ruiz made two errors on the night as the suffering defense cannot find its collective footing. On the second error – a ball that got past Chase Utley on a throw to second – Jimmy Rollins should have been in a position to back up the play but was nowhere to be found.
-That eighth inning was 2008-like. They didn’t win the game because, sadly, the bullpen is not 2008-like. Yet, for a moment, if you closed your eyes, it looked pretty similar. A fun, bizarre, late inning comeback. Too bad. This team could easily be 9-4 or better with a passable bullpen.