Philadelphia Phillies: Recapping the Atlanta Braves Series
It's still early, but for the first time all season the Phillies finally saw some decent pitching.
The Phils took a quick 3-0 lead in Game One, but Cliff Lee struggled while Tim Hudson settled down. Atlanta took the first game 6-3.
In Game Two, Carlos Ruiz came off the bench and contributed with a grand slam and five RBI en route to a 10-2 rout for Philly.
Game Three saw a pitching duel between Derek Lowe and Cole Hamels. Philadelphia scored two of their runs with a baserunner on third with less than two outs, a great sign. Shane Victorino went yard as well and the Phillies won the series with a 3-0 win.
Chipper Reaches a Milestone
I may be a Phillies fan, but I still respect the other teams in the league, especially a guy that's spent his whole career with one franchise.
On Friday night, Chipper Jones became the ninth switch-hitter ever to eclipse the 2,500-hit plateau.
Jones became the second switch-hitter ever to reach 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBI. Eddie Murray is the other.
Lee Struggles, Hudson Settles Down
Like I said last week, you can't expect all of the aces to pitch well every single start.
The Phillies got to Tim Hudson early in Game One, scoring three runs in the first two innings to take a quick 3-0 lead.
A three-run lead is usually plenty for Lee, but he struggled with his location. He continually caught too much of the plate and the Braves made him pay.
Lee went just 3.1 innings. He allowed six earned runs on 10 hits and one walk.
Hudson allowed three runs in the first two innings on four hits.
From there, Hudson found his groove and continually got the Phillies hitters to pound his sinker into the ground.
In the end, Hudson went 7.2 innings, scattering eight hits and two earned runs as he won his second game of the season.
Braves Can't Catch Up in Game Two
Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider were responsible for seven of the 10 runs in a 10-2 Game Two win.
Schneider turned on a fastball that caught the middle of the plate and deposited it deep into the right-field seats. The Phils took a 3-2 lead and never looked back.
In the seventh, Ruiz broke the game wide open as he turned on a Scott Linebrink fastball up and on the inner half of the plate. This gave the Phillies a 7-2 lead.
Roy Oswalt went six innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits and two walks. He struck out two.
Hamels Outduals Lowe in Game Three
Who's booing Cole Hamels now?
The lefty was simply filthy in the finale. He located his fastball and continually fooled the Braves hitters with his changeup.
All in all, Hamels threw seven shutout innings and struck out eight. He allowed just four hits and walked one.
Lowe pitched well for Atlanta, but Hamels was on a different level.
Bullpen Continues to Shine
The Phillies' bullpen combined for 9.2 shutout innings of baseball during the three-game set.
Antonio Bastardo struck out six in two innings of work in Game One.
Jose Contreras picked up his second save of the season in Game Three.
Others who contributed include Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, David Herndon, Danys Baez and Kyle Kendrick.
We'll see if the relievers can continue their early success as the season moves along.
Victorino Excelling in the Leadoff Spot
Victorino came into the series hitting just .261, but left with a .417 clip.
He went 9 for 13 in the series, sprayed the ball around and caused havoc on the basepaths. He scored five runs, and drove in three.