Home Runs Rule As Braves Close In On Phillies
By Editorial Staff
Hello again everyone from the northern frontier of Braves territory, otherwise known as southeast Michigan!
Meanwhile, things on the baseball front are continuing to employ the same formula that the Braves have used to success this whole season: solid starting pitching, shut down relief, and just enough home run production to outscore the other guys.
Last night, Derek Lowe went six solid innings, allowing three runs (all in the fourth inning) with the significant contribution of a blown call on what was ruled a triple by Jose Reyes (Reyes slid into the tag offered by Chipper Jones; if he was safe, so were the last million runners who were called out under similar circumstances). Scott Linebrink, Jonny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel each threw a shutout inning. Kimbrel’s save, his 17th, set a rookie record for most saves in the NL before the All-Star break.
On the offensive side, things continued to look fairly bleak until the 8th inning when Chipper hit a massive line drive home run into the second deck at Citi Field. It was reported to be the first shot ever hit up there. It was so rare that the Mets couldn’t even provide an estimate of how far it went. Empirically, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chipper hit a ball further. Then Eric Hinske, who was in the game as a substitute for Jordan Schafer, who bunted a ball into his own face and left for x-rays, hit a solo shot in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez, giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run double later in the ninth to give the Braves their final 6-3 margin of victory.
The night proved to be a fertile one in the standings as well. With the Braves win and the Phillies loss, the gap between the two teams closed to a mere two and a half games. It’s pretty amazing that the gap is that close, given all the hurdles this Braves team is facing. As I’ve said many times, if this team can achieve an OBP in the range of .330, the division is within reach. And an OBP of .330 should be within reach, given the level of talent available.