The Braves had lost 6 straight, and was playing a team that was on pace to win 113 games, so naturally, we came up with timely hits and strong bullpen work to sneak a win. Of course!
Most noteworthy, however, was Brandon Phillips‘ shift to playing third base. The Braves and Phillips have had a publicly quiet, but seemingly rocky road if you read between the lines. It’s been speculated that the Braves had different deals at different times through last offseason to pick him up, and one would assume that Phillips held it up. At some point, the Braves provided a bonus for him to agree to a trade, and the trade was finalized after Sean Rodriguez‘s injury, which is interesting considering the Braves were linked to Phillips before they signed Rodriguez. Then, it became reasonable to speculate that the Braves had a deal to trade Phillips, but that was axed. Ozzie Albies called up, Phillips to the bench, then Phillips to third, and lots of innuendo from the beat writers and managers about its circumstances. Hmm.
Ozzie Albies is still searching for his first hit, but he’s worked two walks, and in his at bats, he doesn’t appear to be over-matched. He’s taking good swings, he’s not chasing too many pitches, but the hits haven’t fallen quite yet. He’s made some nice plays in the field, though, and I’m sure enjoying the ride.
Julio Teheran had another less-than-stellar start, but it was hardly what we’ve seen most recently. He gave up a home run, but he issued no walks, and only gave up 4 hits in 5 innings. That all sounds good for Julio, but he still gave up 3 runs, and he left after only throwing 64 pitches due to a cramp in his right thigh. Perhaps his night would have ended better, but who knows? The bullpen provided an unexpected but much appreciated 4 straight innings of scoreless work. The same bullpen that had an ERA north of 7 was able to keep the best team in baseball at bay for rest of the evening. Baseball.
The big hit was a 2-run, opposite field, pinch hit homer by Tyler Flowers in the bottom of the 8th, and then Arodys Vizcaino came in to lock it down. Vizzy was pumped after the save, and I would be too if it meant I might be the team’s closer. We shall hope.