Source: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America
The September race is on as the Atlanta Braves visited the Phillies for their first game of a three game set. Unfortunately it’s a race that no team wants to find themselves in come September when starting the season. That race of course is having the worst record in all of baseball. The prize? First pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
The Phillies sent Aaron Harang to the hill to face Braves righty Williams Perez. Harang, making his fourth start of the season against the Braves, had been dominant in his three prior starts. In 19 innings pitched, Harang had allowed just 2 earned runs, earning the win in all three starts. In fact, with only five wins on the seasons, more than half have come against his divisional foe.
Unfortunately for Harang, that prior success wouldn’t continue into tonight’s game.
The Braves got on the board early in the top half of the first inning with a 2-run home run off the bat of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. The home run, Freeman’s 16th on the season and only his 2nd since returning from his second DL stint, scored outfielder Nick Markakis, who led off the game with a double.
The Phillies would struggle to score early after recording four hits over the first two innings, yet failing to plate any of the runners. Their first run of the game would come in the bottom of the third inning. After a lead off double from Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrera would sacrifice him to third leading to a sacrifice fly off the bat of Aaron Altherr, cutting the Braves lead to just 2-1.
That lead would be extended, however, in the top half of the fourth inning. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and rookie third baseman Hector Olivera would both add run scoring doubles, extending the Braves lead to 5-1. The double for Olivera, was the first of his career. In fact, it was a night of firsts for Olivera, who also would add a 2-run home run in the top half of the ninth inning, the first home run of his career as well.
While September call-up Brian Bogusevic would add a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Phillies as a whole just couldn’t get anything going against Perez. Perez ended up finishing his night after going 7 innings and striking out 7 Phillies on a dominant changeup. The two earned runs allowed came on just 6 hits allowed with 0 walks.
Harang, struggled in his 5 innings of work. While he did strike out 6 batters, all 5 runs allowed were earned on 8 hits and 3 walks.
The Braves bullpen, behind Marksberry and Vizcaino, would shut down the Phillies for the final two innings as the Braves took the first game of the series 7-2.
- With the loss, Aaron Harang became the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to lose 15 on the season.
- The home run from Bogusevic would be his first in the Major Leagues since September 19, 2013 when he was playing for the Chicago Cubs.
- The win from Williams Perez, his 5th of the season, is his first win since June 20 when the Braves defeated the New York Mets
- With the loss, the Phillies fall two games “ahead” of the Braves for the worst record in Major League Baseball.
The Phillies and Braves will be back out there Tuesday night as Aaron Nola goes for his 6th win on the season.