As usual, I can never get out of the office in time to catch the whole first inning on MLB.com. Why does the first inning always seems to be momentous on Tuesday night? Would it be too much to ask for a clean first inning once in a while. When I saw what had happened, I had trouble getting back into the game. As bad as Fried was in the first inning, he pulled it together and kept the Braves in the game.
So, for the uninformed, Fried’s first inning went popup, HR, HR, 2B, popup, HR, W, and GO. The score was 4-0 Phils and Fried looked pretty shaky. Some of our favorite players made life hard as JTR and Harper hit the first two HRs consecutively. That the Phillies spent $300M and traded their best prospect to acquire their two best players is why they are not ready for primetime. Fried hung in and gave four more decent innings before leaving.
The good news is that, seeing Vargas on the mound, I had every confidence the Braves would come back. The Braves staged a big 3rd inning rally where Vargas couldn’t get anyone out. Unfortunately, the Braves used all walks and singles and could not put up a bigger number. But they did score 4 runs to tie, as Vargas committed an error on a potential home-to-first DP ball. They had already wasted a Camargo leadoff double in the second and Albies gave away a run by getting thrown out on a first-to-third attempt during the rally. But you had to feel good that the Braves had bailed out Fried and were back in it.
That feeling didn’t last long as Fried gave up his 4th HR and final run in the bottom half of the 3rd. Kingery hit an inside-the-park HR which Acuna almost caught, correction should have caught. But the ball popped out when he came back down from his leap over the fence, as he failed to protect his catch before celebrating. Acuna still makes some rookie mistakes. Even then two good relays nearly had Kingery at the plate if Cervelli could have held on to the ball and made a good swipe tag. The ball beat Kingery there.
Thus began hibernation mode. The Braves could do nothing with the Phillies relief staff, which was unusual considering the quality thereof. Snitker used this game for reliever test mode with O’Day, Minter, Swarzak, Blevins, and Sobotka. All of them are on the cusp of the playoff roster or just out of it. The Phils were already in reliever mode when Vargas couldn’t last. Chip kept telling us that the more relievers the Phils used, the more likely we were to get one we could hit. Except that the Phils hit ours first when Dickerson hit his 2nd HR of the night off of Minter in the 6th.
The Braves had set the stage for their usual late comeback. Camargo hit a solo blast in the 8th, but it was not enough. Neris set the Braves down 1-2-3 in the 9th and a one run loss resulted. The gNats suffered their own loss so the Braves still gained in the magic number column. Down to nine.