Phillies sink Braves in Atlanta
The Philadelphia Phillies were able to get a much-needed sweep of the Atlanta Braves this week. They are in heated playoff race with the New York Mets who will begin a 3 game series with Atlanta on Friday. The Braves could make or break the season for either the Phillies or the Mets. As of Friday afternoon, the Phillies have a 1/2 game lead over the Mets. With Billy Wagner done for the year, the Mets need to go into Atlanta and get a sweep.
Game 1 of the Philly-Atlanta series looked to be going Atlanta’s way for most of the game. James Parr had his first bad major league start. Parr gave up 4 runs on 10 hits in only 4 and 1/3 innings of work. Despite a poor showing, he looks to be a great piece for next season. Philly starter Jamie Moyer did not fare any better. He allowed 6 earned runs in 5 and 2/3 innings. Atlanta looked to be cruising to a victory until Philadelphia tagged Will Ohman for 2 runs in the 7th inning and a run off both Julian Tavarez and Mike Gonzalez in the 8th inning. Atlanta couldn’t score in the 9th as Brad Lidge nailed down his 37th save of the season to secure an 8-7 Philadelphia victory. Gonzalez has now blown his 2nd game of the season. Prior to this mediocre stretch, Gonzalez had converted over 30 saves in a row.
Game 2 was all Philadelphia as they cruised to a 6-1 victory. Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens was knocked around for 4 runs in 5 innings of work to lower his record to 13-10. Philly rookie J.A. Happ was excellent for the Phillies, throwing 6 strong innings of shutout ball. Atlanta first baseman Casey Kotchman went 2-4 to improve his average with the Braves. Kotchman has been somewhat of a roller coaster since coming over from the Angels in the Mark Teixeira deal. Hopefully he can turn things around for the Braves.
Mike Hampton was decent for Atlanta in game 3. He allowed 4 runs in 7 innings of work. Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels went 6 strong innings while allowing 2 runs. Hamels has been a Brave killer ever since coming into the league. He has now improved his record to 14-9 on the season. Casey Kotchman launched his first home run as a Brave and 13th on the season. He has shown little power since being traded, but that can all come in due time. With little offense from the Braves and mediocre pitching, Philly got the series sweep of the Braves in a 4-3 victory.
Throughout a disappointing season there have been two very bright spots for Atlanta, Chipper Jones and some young studs. Chipper has obviously been hitting the cover off of the ball all year long. He currently stands at a .365 average, which is best in the majors. The other bright spot is the great play they have gotten from their young players. Jair Jurrjens has tailed off lately but has still put in a fine rookie campaign. Charlie Morton has shown a lot of potential while pitching threw an injury. James Parr has been fantastic through his first 3 major league starts. Finally Josh Anderson has been hitting very well while showing great speed. Atlanta may not be great this year, but next year is looking pretty good.
With the playoffs around the corner, the Mets need this series. They must win at all costs. In game 1 Oliver Perez (10-7) will take on the struggling Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11). Reyes needs to show any sign that he has what it takes to be successful at the major league level if he wants to stay here. Pedro Martinez (5-5) will face Jorge Campillo (7-7) in game 2. Campillo has lost some of his success lately, despite that he has been solid yearlong. In the series finale Mike Pelfrey (13-10) will take on James Parr (1-0). Parr will try to improve on his last start and show that he deserves a spot in the starting rotation next year.
By Ben Burrows
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