Phillies, Hamels too much for the Braves

The Braves fell four games behind the division leading Phillies tonight after losing 3-1.

The bats were kept silent for most of the night. Cole Hamels threw 8 solid innings against the Braves, scattering six hits and striking out six. Brad Lidge was the “good ” Lidge and he slammed the door in the 9th, striking out two batters on 11 pitches.

Atlanta grabbed four of its six hits in the first two innings and Hamels settled down after that. The Braves couldn’t seem to find the grass when they made contact. They only found the Phillies gloves.

Hamels has now won five straight starts in a row and that’s not a good sign for their opponents.

The Braves had their chances to be in this game despite the Phillies going 1-11 with runners in scoring position. It seemed like they were threatening in every inning, but I gotta say rookie Brandon Beachy did a nice job despite only lasting 4 1/3 innings. He worked out of jams and didn’t lose his cool.

Brandon Beachy was called upon to start tonight because Jurrjens couldn’t go. He will have an MRI on his knee tomorrow.

Eventually, the Phillies pushed two runs across, but not without some help from the Braves. The Braves made two errors in the inning and both runs were unearned. The first error was a misplayed fly ball by Jason Heyward which allowed Shane Victorino to advance to third. The second error came on a throwing error by Brian McCann when Chase Utley stole second base. The error allowed Utley to move up to third and he eventually scored on a groundout.

The Braves bullpen did a solid job tonight, especially Moylan. It’s unfortunate we had to get to them so early, but at least we still had a shot to win the game.You never want to use up a lot of your bullpen so early in a series, but the Braves had no choice.

The highlight of the night for the Braves, other than the bullpen, was Matt Diaz tripping up a streaking Philly fan.

“I wanted to spear him so bad, but I didn’t want to hurt him or get hurt,” said Diaz. (via this article)

Derek Lee had another solid night at the plate for Atlanta. He hit a grand slam Sunday and was 2-4 tonight. It would be nice for him to heat up.

It’s convenient that the Braves are facing the big three from Philly: Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt. Who are the Braves matching up against them you might ask? Beachy, Minor and Hanson. You’re probably familiar with Tommy Hanson, but Minor is a rookie and so is Beachy.

It was tough loss tonight, but it wasn’t like the Braves didn’t have a chance. It could have been worse, but the Braves pitchers did a nice job of pitching out of jams. The Braves can’t continue to live dangerously, because it will eventually come back to haunt them.

Atlanta really needs to dig in for the last two games of this series to take them both. They can’t afford to get behind five or even six games to the Phillies.

Halladay is 3-0 in his career against Atlanta with a 0.63 ERA. Mike Minor has yet to pitch against the Phillies. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. CST.

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