Braves recap: Braves bats shutdown by Wheeler in 2-1 loss to the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves bats got shutdown by one of the best pitchers in baseball this afternoon and fell to the Phillies for the second straight day by a score of 2-1. Zack Wheeler had everything working and finished with one of the finest lines a starting pitcher has put together this season. Wheelers final line was 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 12 Ks.

Early on it was very much the pitching duel we expected as each pitcher went hit less through the first two innings. The only baserunner came on a Castellanos walk, but he was cut down on a fielder’s choice to Orlando Arcia who got him trying to advance to third on a pretty bad base running blunder. The Phillies produced the first run-scoring chance with two outs in the top of the third after Bryson Stott and Trea Turner had back to back singles followed by a walk to Bryce Harper to load the bases. Thankfully, Charlie threw some really good curveballs to strikeout Castellanos and keep the game scoreless.

The Braves then followed with a two out rally of their own as their first baserunners came in the form of a Michael Harris II hit-by-pitch and a Ronald Acuña Jr. single. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s threat was subdued as well as Wheeler got Olson to fly out to end the third inning.

If you blinked during the top of the fourth inning you probably missed it. Morton had one of the more impressive half innings of the season as he went strikeout, groundout, strikeout through Schwarber, Realmuto, and Bohm and needed just seven pitches to do so. The Braves had another scoring chance in the bottom half of the inning after a one out double from Sean Murphy, but that was followed by a groundout from Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario popping up to the catcher to thwart that scoring opportunity.

Sadly, it was the Phillies who broke through first after the bottom of the order set the table for the top. Brandon Marsh singled and Kody Clemens doubled to make put runners on second and third with no one out. Stott then took the first pitch he saw to left field for a sacrifice fly and plate the games first run. The evil Trea Turner then hit a ball halfway in the left-hand batters box for a double down the right field line and it had quickly became a 2-0 Philadelphia lead. After an intentional walk to Harper, a third strikeout of Castellanos, and a four-pitch walk to Schwarber to load the bases J.T. Realmuto came up to bat. Finally the inning would end there as Realmuto popped up a 3-1 pitch to centerfield into the glove of Michael Harris II.

Atlanta tried to get Charlie Morton through the bottom of the lineup one more time in the sixth inning, but singles from Bohm and Clemens ended the night for Morton. His final line was 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, and 9 Ks. So on came A.J. Minter to face the top of the order with two on and one out. He got Stott to fly out to left and then Turner was retired on a nice sliding stop from Austin Riley to keep the score 2-0.

The Braves next chance to collect a hit with a RISP was after a two-out double from Riley down the third base line. However, Wheeler got Murphy on a borderline 3-2 pitch that was called strike three and once again the Braves were turned away.

In some positive news, Jesse Chavez continues to be the greatest pitcher to ever live as he struck out the side in the top of the eighth inning. In bad news the bottom of the eighth came and Zack was still wheelin’ and dealin’ (I’m sorry). He would get the Braves in order to end his day.

Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth a night after clinching his 400th save in his career. He would take on the heart of the Braves order in Riley, Murphy, and Ozuna. After getting Riley to flyout, the Braves FINALLY broke through as he sent a 3-2 fastball into the first row of the left field seats. Unfortunately, Kimbrel bounced back quickly and struck out Ozuna and Rosario to finish off the 2-1 victory for Philadelphia. The Braves will try and salvage a series split tomorrow as Spencer Strider takes the hill.