I don’t have a lot of time this morning, so this will be a brief one. At this point, in the crush of a pennant chase by a young and exciting team that has real playoff ambitions, you should be watching them yourselves anyway.
The Rays jumped out to a two run lead early, pushing single runs across via singles, sacrifice bunts, stolen bases and sac flies. Joe wet himself a little in the booth, I suspect. Ozzie, Ronald and Ender combined to scatch one back bottom of three and Julio settled down for a couple of innings. That gave the Braves a chance to break it open initially in the home half of the fifth. The four run rally was also built off of singles and sacrifices (calm down, Joe; nobody wants to hear those noises on live television buddy) as well, but also involved a couple of gifts by shoddy Ray defense and a NeckMark double to cap it.
I think we may need to develop a more detailed rubric than Good Julio, Bad Julio going forward. Last night we got more of a Meh, That’ll Do, Julio. He wasn’t super effective. He wasn’t horrifically bad. He did give up a homer to a guy with a 570 OPS, but hey. Julio gonna Julio, man. But all told? Five and two-thirds, 6 hits and a walk, 5 k’s, 4 runs, all of them earned. Basically the pitching equivalent of Donkey from Shrek. That’ll do, Julio. That’ll do.
Jesse and Dan came in and held the fort for an inning, but Everyday Jonny’s day was not that day, and he coughed up the lead seventh. It was his first bad outing as a Brave and a blown save opportunity. But Brad Brach, whom I suggest we call BraBra going forward, came in to preserve the 5-all tie. Of interest, by throwing a single pitch which Carlos Gomez lifted into left for a fly-out to Ronald, and having his offense break out for four more in the bottom half, BraBra notched himself the “win.”
Baseball stats are so dumb.
Minter came on and closed out the ninth with no runs scoring, but he made it as interesting as possible while doing it. In the meantime, up in Philly, well… That happened. I don’t know how it happened, or what the Vincent Velasquez was thinking, but yeah. That really did happen. So, by the close of business, your Atlanta Braves were winners, the Phillies were losers, the Nats didn’t gain ground, and the lead in the division is up to 4.5 game. That is the largest lead held by either team all year, and the largest lead for Atlanta since close of regular season action in 2013.