'Pen is not Mightier

James HulkaAnalyst IJuly 27, 2008

Jair Jurrjens pitched 8 scoreless innings on Friday night to open the series in Philadelphia.

In the final 17 innings of the series, the Braves pitchers allowed 24 runs on 28 hits including 7 homers. They managed to blow leads of five runs or more on consecutive days on a weekend when the offense totaled 27 runs, including 8 or more in each game, all without Chipper Jones in the lineup.

The Braves walked into Philadelphia this weekend looking to take a series. After Friday night and halfway through Saturday's game, there was a good chance for Atlanta to sweep the struggling Phillies at home. Instead, the pitching came up small as 19 runs scored in the last 12 innings that the Phillies came to bat. 19 runs versus 36 outs.

Congrats to Blaine Boyer, Buddy Carlyle, Julian Tavarez, Jo-Jo Reyes, Royce Ring - you managed to toss out the window whatever remained of the Braves' chances for reaching the postseason.

As today's rain delay continued, I wondered what was going to happen once the rain stopped. After I saw that Jorge Campillo who was effective in his brief start before the downpour began was not coming out to pitch, I had a feeling that this day would be a bad one for the Braves. In addition, Joe Blanton did not return, but that turned to be a moot point as Atlanta still scored 8 runs off the Phillie bullpen.

Campillo was the only Braves pitcher who pitched today that didn't have a run scored on him this weekend. He joins only Rafael Soriano in that category with Jurrjens who showed the rest of the pitching staff how to get it done, but obviously didn't pay attention.

I could add Hampton to that list, but he still left with a lead that the bullpen blew in a 7-run 5th inning on Saturday. He was on a pitch count and I'm still somewhat surprised he made it to the 5th inning. All the big homeruns hit by the Phillies this weekend were fat pitches. Dobbs on Saturday - Coste, Burrell, Werth, Rollins, Victorino today. They were thigh or belt high, straight, and over the heart of the plate. Apparently the Braves bullpen forgot these are major league hitters they're facing - and in a small ballpark.

The Braves accomplished the impossible this weekend. They scored 27 runs in the 3 game series, outscored the Phillies with Chipper Jones sidelined and still managed to lose the series.

Then again, this Braves team has proved that to its fans that this year nothing is impossible. If Brian McCann didn't have a headache from his collision, he sure has one now.