baseball

Braves at Phillies recap: Tough matchup plays out as expected in 9-1 loss

Last week, the Braves somehow prevailed in a Jake Odorizzi-Aaron Nola matchup, in exciting fashion. On Friday night, with their worst single-game odds of the year, they couldn’t do it twice, getting walloped by the Phillies and dropping their third game in a row. To be honest, this game doesn’t really warrant a full recap, as the Braves more or less sealed their fate early.

The Phillies started the bottom of the second with back-to-back singles off Odorizzi. The second of those was a slow roller by Brandon Marsh that let Alec Bohm go first-to-third on the unimpressive arm of Robbie Grossman, who was forced into right field duty due to the continued absence of Ronald Acuña Jr. with back tightness. Odorizzi then walked Jean Segura on four pitches to load the bases with none out. There was a brief chance to work out of it as Odorizzi jumped ahead of Bryson Stott 0-2, but the latter somehow muscled a pretty inside pitch out to center for a no-contest sacrifice fly. Matt Vierling followed with a bloop that dropped in front of Grossman to make it 2-0. At this point, the Braves probably could’ve pulled Odorizzi to keep it close, given his times-through-the-order splits, but who am I kidding at this point?

While Odorizzi did strike out Kyle Schwarber for the second out, Rhys Hoskins with a two-run double into the left-field corner, followed the Braves into a 4-0 hole. To be perfectly fair, Odorizzi did okay through 18 batters — a 5/2 K/BB ratio with no homers allowed isn’t awful. But, the Braves were apparently hellbent on preserving the bullpen in this one, because Odorizzi also started a third trip through the order, which went about as horribly as possible. He walked Schwarber, allowed a two-run homer to Hoskins, and then stuck around for two more runs that resulted from Michael Harris II dropping a ball hit into deep center. The Braves’ reward for this stratagem was an 8-0 deficit, and I guess an extra one to three innings the bullpen didn’t have to pitch.

Not that it necessarily mattered, anyway. Aaron Nola was Aaron Nola, and had little trouble with the Braves. Nola threw together an 8/3 K/BB ratio in six innings of work. The Braves put two on in the first and the third with no damage, and scattered some other baserunners, but only had one hard-hit ball against Nola and didn’t benefit from the Phillies bungling any plays or anything like that.

Tyler Matzek threw two frames that somehow resulted in just one extra run allowed despite a 2/4 K/BB ratio. The Braves have this weird problem-that-may-not-really-be-a-problem where they’re gonna have to build a playoff roster that might include a bunch of mop-up guys, just because that’s been their bullpen configuration for much of the year, but at least those mop-up guys will be well-rested, I guess? Jackson Stephens added a perfect inning in the seventh, and Orlando Arcia appeared in his first game since early August… as a pitcher… and got three outs after a leadoff walk.

The Braves scored a run off Nick Nelson in the seventh on a Grossman sacrifice fly, which scored a leadoff double by Eddie Rosario that was really the result of a misplay. The Braves “rested” some guys in this game, taking Dansby Swanson and Harris out of action after their final PAs, but left Matt Olson and Austin Riley in the game. Rylan Bannon made his first appearance as a Brave at second base, with Vaugh Grissom sliding over to short. Austin Riley went 2-for-3 with a walk in this one, and has only made one out in this series so far. Robbie Grossman went 1-for-1 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.

The Braves seem fairly likely to fall 2.5 games behind the Mets as a result of this game, given that the latter have a 3-0 lead in Oakland at the moment. They’ll try to take the first step in evening the series when Kyle Wright faces Bailey Falter tomorrow afternoon.

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