Ha ha, get it? The Braves choked. You know?
Well if that’s what it takes to get in the win column these days, the Phillies will take it. Down as many runs as seven after the top of the seventh inning, the Phillies pulled off one of their patented comebacks they’ve become so famous for these past two years.
Known more for their power, with a second-best .438 team SLG last season, the Phillies scored eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning without an extra-base hit and without driving in more than one run at a time. The Phillies exploited the Atlanta bullpen’s wildness, working five walks and a hit-by-pitch, and finding holes with four singles. A recap of the carnage:
- Shane Victorino: Grounds out (4 pitches)
- Chase Utley: Soft single to center field (6 pitches)
- Ryan Howard: Hit by a 90-MPH fastball (7 pitches)
- Jayson Werth: Walks (8 pitches)
- Raul Ibanez: Line drive single to left field, RBI (2 pitches)
- Pedro Feliz: Line drive single to center field, RBI (2 pitches)
- Matt Stairs: Walks, RBI (4 pitches)
- Chris Coste: Walks, RBI (5 pitches)
- Jimmy Rollins: Walks, RBI (4 pitches)
- Shane Victorino: Line drive single to right field, RBI (2 pitches)
- Chase Utley: Walks, RBI (5 pitches)
- Ryan Howard: Groundout, RBI (3 pitches)
- Jayson Werth: Fly out to right field (2 pitches)
The Phillies saw 54 pitches in the seventh inning, averaging 3 pitches per out, 5 pitches per walk, and 3 pitches per hit. The 8-run seventh wasn’t quite enough, as Eric Bruntlett knocked in the eventual winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Brad Lidge showed chinks in his armor, allowing a ninth inning home run to Matt Diaz to bring the Braves to within one run but was able to save the game at 12-11.
Overall, the Phillies scored 13 runs in the three games and allowed 19. Of those 19 runs, the starting pitching has allowed 18, with 6 of those 18 runs coming two apiece in each of the three first innings in the series. Of those 6 first inning runs, Brian McCann is responsible for five of those runs with two 2-run home runs and an RBI groundout.
Phillies pitching allowed 8 home runs in the series, 6 of which are attributable to Brett Myers (3), Jamie Moyer (2), and Joe Blanton (1). On the other side, Raul Ibanez was the only Phillie to hit a long ball.
Although they allowed three runs in five innings tonight, the Phillies’ bullpen had thrown seven shutout innings in the first two games, including three perfect innings from the new guy, Jack Taschner.
Despite the mounting frustration going into the game, the Phillies’ struggles didn’t dampen their World Series ring ceremony, which you can watch by clicking here. Pat Burrell returned to thunderous applause and flew back to Boston to play in tonight’s game against the Red Sox.
The Phillies will fly to Colorado tomorrow for a three-game series with the Rockies, then make a trip to Washington for a three-game set with the Nationals that includes a visit with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their families. The Phils have an off day on Tuesday, April 14 which is when that visit will take place.