Monday night’s implosion by the Phillies bullpen, which I will go into no further details about, came with summer-like conditions, as temperatures at the first pitch were well over 70 degrees in South Philly. Sure, there was an annoying wind, but after one of the most unbearable winter seasons in recent memory, those felt like more than ideal conditions. 48 hours, and a rain/snowout later, and the Phillies and Braves began game two of the series, with temperatures at 45 degrees. Even in mid-April, old-man winter doesn’t want to seem to give way to consistent Spring temperatures, let alone balmy summer conditions.
The postponement of Tuesday night’s game, caused the celebration of Jackie Robinson evening to be moved back a day. As part of the celebration, all players wore number 42. Props to the MLB for allowing the celebration to take place a night later than originally scheduled, because Robinson is not only a baseball icon, but he is an American icon, and continuing to preserve his legacy is of the utmost importance.
As for the game, the Phillies were wearing old jerseys (just go along with it), and they performed like the old Phillies. Well, the old Phillies in the sense of 2012 and 2013, not like 2007 or 2008. In other words, after a relatively fast-start for the veteran offense, the team hit much more like the Phillies offense that we expected tonight.
In all fairness to the offense, the NL East is loaded with young pitching talents. Between Jose Fernandez, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, and even the injured Matt Harvey, the NL East isn’t going to be an easy place to hit over the course of the next five to ten seasons. Add Julio Teheran to that list, as the 23 year-old righty, entered tonight’s game with a 2.84 ERA over the course of his first three starts, and only lowered that tonight.
Teheran dazzled tonight, absolutely shutting the Phillies down in a complete game performance. Not only did Teheran keep the Phillies off the scoreboard, but he only allowed two three hits over the course of nine innings. The stat that puts Teheran’s dominant start into perspective, is that he didn’t allow a runner to reach second-base until the ninth inning. Even then, that wasn’t an extra-base hit, it was a stolen-base by Jimmy Rollins. The next play, Chase Utley grounded out to end the game.
The most disappointing part about the Phillies being shutdown at the plate, was that after Cliff Lee was very hittable early on in his outing, he was dealing late. Lee ended his evening with a complete game himself, and 13 strikeouts. While he allowed 11 hits, the Braves only rally came in the ninth inning, when Lee was able to work out of a runners on second and third jam. The only run that Lee allowed, was a high homerun, from the suddenly-smoking Evan Gattis. Unfortunately that was all Teheran needed tonight, and Lee ended up taking the loss despite an 128-pitch complete game.
I understand after watching baseball for nearly a decade and a half, that games like this are part of a long MLB season. I just have grown tired of watching the Phillies be on the losing side of them numerous times over the past three seasons.