When we look back at the 2018 season’s late inning weirdness, last night’s game will be, along with the 9th inning rally against the Fish, Example 1 (or maybe 1A) of why you don’t turn off a Braves game until the last out is recorded. And maybe not even then. Plus, the Braves most likely took what flickering hopes of catching them the Phillies had, ripped it out of their chest, and ate it right in their face.
(Sorry to go all Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom there, but it feels appropriate.)
Julio Teheran took the ball for Atlanta and pitched very well. After giving up the requisite first inning tater – a lead off shot to Cesar Hernandez, he settled in and pitched into the 7th, pretty much controlling the Philadelphia bats. There was a 3rd inning walk to Roman Quinn and a balk, but Quinn was thrown out stealing third when he overslid the bag, the second time in two games a Phils runner gave Atlanta a gift out via bad slides. More concerning was a 6th inning leadoff triple to pinch hitter J.P. Crawford, but Jome Julio stranded him by striking out Quinn, getting a ground ball to a drawn-in Ozzie Albies, and a Rhys Hoskins flyout.
Atlanta tied it up in the bottom of the third when Freddie Freeman went to left against the shift with two outs and drove in Ronald Acuna, Jr. If Philadelphia was not shifting, that would be an easy a 6-3 putout as you could ask for, but Fab Five Freddie didn’t try to play Hero Ball, he made the smart, game-tying play.
Philly had a brief dawn of hope in the top of the 7th when with one out Justin Bour walked and Carlos Santana singled. Men on first and second. Wilson Ramos got fooled by a Teheran slider and hit a line drive off the end of his bat, which Acuna should have nabbed for out number two, but he took an absolutely horrible route and the ball sailed over his head for a ‘double’ and two of the most unearned earned runs you’ll ever see. Chip’nJoe’nTom speculated that Acuna may have gotten fooled by how bad a swing Ramos made, which I will accept since even though RAJ has taken some odd routes this year, I haven’t seen one THAT egregious. After that our ‘old’ friend Jose Bautista came in and singled in the pinch runner for a 4-1 lead, and Julio was lifted for Jonny Venters – deserving a better fate than seemed to be in store for him. Everyday Jonny put out the fire, inducing a grounder to short by Quinn and a Hernandez grounder to end the rally. 4-1 Philly, the Phillies get to the ‘pen with the good relievers they didn’t use last night, and with some momentum? The Braves say – ‘Hold my beer.’
Pat Neshek in for Philly. Tyler Flowers greets him with a single. Ozzie Albies homers. 4-3. Dansby Swanson walks. Perhaps not a Rally Killer? Lucas Duda with another late inning clutch pinch hit, sending Fake Culberson to third. Acuna grounds out, with Dansby thrown out at home, but Ender Inciarte doubles, plating Lane Adams, who had run for Luca Brasi Duda, tie game. Freddie gets the intentional pass, which was about as surprising as the sun coming up in the east. Nick Markakis popped out to second, but Johan Camargo worked the count full and singled in Acuna and Ender for the 6-4 lead.
In the 8th Snit brings in Chad Sobotka. I think we’re seeing who Snit believes has earned a playoff spot in the bullpen. Chewbotka works another 1-2-3 frame, although he only strikes out 1. A.J. Minter comes in for the save in the ninth. He does give up a one out triple to Jorge Alfaro, and then gets a bit unlucky when pinch-hitter Maikel Franco gets his bat shattered for a wounded duck single to center. But Minter gets Bautista to fly out and strikes out Quinn to end the game. Atlanta goes for the clinch this afternoon, with Mike Foltynewicz matching up against Jake Arrieta. With IWOTM winning last night, the gNatspos are out (/Nelson Muntz Ha!Ha! /NM) leaving only the Phillies left standing. One more win will do it. I won’t gross you out with the Mola Ram scene from Temple of Doom, instead I will leave you with this.