Last week, the Braves somehow won in a thrilling fashion in a Jake Odorizzi-Aaron Nola matchup. On Friday night, with their worst single game odds of the year, they couldn’t do it twice, were beaten by the Phillies and dropped their third game in a row. To be fair, this game doesn’t really warrant a full recap, as the Braves sealed their fate more or less early.
The Phillies started the bottom of the second inning with back-to-back singles off Odorizzi. The second of these was a slow roller from Brandon Marsh that sent Alec Bohm from first to third on the unimpressive arm of Robbie Grossman, who was forced into right field due to the continued absence of Ronald Acuña Jr. with a tense back. Odorizzi then walked Jean Segura on four pitches, loading the bases with no one out. There was a brief chance to get out, as Odorizzi led 0-2 ahead of Bryson Stott, but the latter somehow squeezed in a nice pitch to center for a no-contest sacrifice fly. Matt Vierling followed with a bloop that fell for Grossman to make it 2-0. At this point, the Braves could probably have persuaded Odorizzi to keep it close, given his time-by-order splits, but who am I kidding at this point?
While Odorizzi struckout Kyle Schwarber for the second out, Rhys Hoskins followed with a two-run double into the corner of left field, putting the Braves into a 4-0 hole. To be fair, Odorizzi did well to 18 batters – a 5/2 K/BB ratio with no home runs isn’t terrible. But the Braves were apparently determined to keep the bullpen in this one, as Odorizzi also embarked on a third journey through the order, which went as horribly as possible. He walked Schwarber, gave up a two-run home run to Hoskins and then hung up on two more runs, which resulted from Michael Harris II dropping a ball that was hit deep in the middle. The Braves’ reward for this ruse was trailing 8-0, and I guess the bullpen didn’t have to throw an extra one to three innings.
Not that it necessarily mattered, anyway. Aaron Nola was Aaron Nola and had few issues with the Braves. Nola racked up an 8/3 K/BB ratio in six innings of work. The Braves hit two in the first and third without damage, scattering some other baserunners, but had only one hard hit against Nola and didn’t take advantage of the Phillies messing up with play or anything.
Tyler Matzek threw two frames which somehow resulted in only one extra run allowed despite a 2/4 K/BB ratio. The Braves have this weird issue, which may not really be a problem, where they have to make a playoff roster with possibly a bunch of mop boys just because that was their bullpen setup for much of the year, but those mop boys will at least be well equipped 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 retired the side after walking in the leadoff.
The Braves scored a run off Nick Nelson in the seventh on a Grossman sacrifice fly, who scored a leadoff double by Eddie Rosario that was actually the result of a misplay. The Braves ‘rested’ some guys in this game, taking Dansby Swanson and Harris out of the action after their final PAs, but Matt Olson and Austin Riley stayed in the game. Rylan Bannon made his first appearance as Brave at second base, with Vaugh Grissom sliding to short. Austin Riley walked 2-for-3 in this one and has only made one in this series so far. Robbie Grossman was 1-for-1 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.
It seems quite likely that the Braves will fall 2.5 games behind the Mets as a result of this match, as the latter currently have a 3-0 lead in Oakland. They will try to take the first step in the evening series when Kyle Wright faces Bailey Falter tomorrow afternoon.