The end of another summer of baseball comes to an end with today's games. Unfortunately for the Phillies, baseball will not continue into October for the second straight season. Already eliminated from the postseason, Philly headed into Atlanta looking to play spoiler. They had a chance to sweep the Braves and diminish their chances at the best record in the National League. However, things did not go as planned, and the Phillies lost their chance to take the series. Still, the Braves went into today's contest a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for that title. A win for the Phillies would not only halt Atlanta's chances at the best record, but would send them into the offseason with a mini winning streak.
Starting today's game for the Phillies was Zack Miner, making the final game of the season a bullpen affair. Jason Heyward earned the leadoff walk, while Justin Upton dunked a ball into left field. While trying to get to second, Domonic Brown was able to throw Upton out. His throw, however, would end up hitting Cody Asche in the chin, resulting in a ton of blood and Freddy Galvis replacing him at third base. The next batter, Freddie Freeman, singled to bring Heyward home from third. Then, the man with monster power, Evan Gattis, lifted a ball just over the left field fence for a two run homerun. The Braves held a 3 run lead after just one, 3-0.
Scoring would pick up once more in the third for Atlanta. Freeman singled to reach base once more, and Gerald Laird did the same. A double by Andrelton Simmons then allowed Freeman to score and extend the lead to 4. J.C. Ramirez was then called upon to take over for Miner on the mound. The first batter he faced was Elliot Johnson, and he lifted a ball deep enough into center field to bring in the fifth run of the game in the form of Laird. 5-0.
Braves rookie starter Julio Teheran had been cruising through the first few frames, but ran into his first trouble in the fourth. Chase Utley and Domonic Brown each singled with one away to put two runners on base. Kevin Frandsen came up with an RBI single in the next at bat to end the shutout. Freddy Galvis was next up, but a fly ball resulted in the second out. Erik Kratz was the final hope of the inning, and did he come up big. A long fly ball into left field turned into a three run homerun, and the score now stood at just 5-4.
Ramirez continued to pitch into the fifth inning. In that inning, he allowed singles to Gattis, Laird, and Simmons to load the bases. Elliot Johnson was up next with a great opportunity, but a ground all turned into a double play, and the Braves now sat with two runners in scoring position and two away. Dan Uggla was intentionally walked to get to Jose Constanza, who would break through with a 2 RBI single. Make it 7-4 Braves.
With that score, the Braves would begin to run away with the game. A wild pitch by Cesar Jimenez in the sixth let in an eighth run. Then, an Elliot Johnson triple brought in two more to put Atlanta into double digits. 10-4. Cesar Hernandez singles in the next half inning to bring in Kratz, but the rally was coming too little and too late.
The final two runs for Atlanta came in off the bat of Elliot Johnson. Another 2 RBI base knock would be his fifth of the day, pushing the score to 12-5. That score would hold until the end, and the Phillies season has come to a close. A final record of 73-89, their worst since 2000, is not really what fans wanted out of this team, but the second half was a strong push for Ryne Sandberg's squad. The next game we'll see the Phillies play will, I assume, will pit Cole Hamels against Yu Darvish in Arlington. Between now and then, expect tons of rumors, signing, and changes will occur with this team.
Keep an eye out in the next few days for some season analysis and expectations for the offseason.