Salisbury's Instant Replay: Braves 2, Phils 1
ATLANTA – The Phillies continued to spiral toward irrelevancy in the National League wild-card race in a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
The loss, the Phils’ second in as many nights in Atlanta, dropped the Phils to 11 ½ games out of the second NL wild-card spot.
Before the series began, Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said his team would have to win at least two of three or sweep the series to have much of a chance at making a playoff run. Things are getting more dire by the day and Amaro could find himself trading players like Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre and Joe Blanton before Tuesday’s trade deadline (see story)
The Phils are 45-56.Starting pitching report
Blanton pitched well in what might have been his last start with the Phils. The trade candidate allowed just four hits and two runs over seven innings. He walked just one and struck out seven. He left the game for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh, otherwise would have gone eight innings in a third straight game.
Atlanta lefty Mike Minor pitched much better than the 5.49 ERA that he carried into the game. He pitched eight walk-free innings, allowed four hits and a run, and struck out nine.Bullpen report
Craig Kimbrel retired the top three hitters in the Phillies’ batting order, two by strikeout, to record his 30th save.At the plate
The Phils had just four hits and none after the fourth inning. Chase Utley smacked his fifth home run.
The Phils were 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position and are 0 for 10 in those situations in the first two games of the series.
Chipper Jones drove in Atlanta’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Jason Heyward singled home a run in the third inning.In the field
Victorino and Ryan Howard made errors as the Phillies continued to play sloppy defense. They also made two errors in Friday night’s loss.Health check
Catcher Carlos Ruiz, battling some foot soreness, did not start. He is expected to be behind the plate for the series finale on Sunday.Up next
A pair of pretty good righthanders take the mound Sunday afternoon – Roy Halladay (4-5, 4.32) vs. Tim Hudson (9-4, 3.71)
E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org