Losing five of their last six games has certainly made the playoffs an afterthought once again with the Braves. That makes it that much more interesting when young guys like Sean Newcomb take the mound. He is the first of many prospects we will be seeing down the stretch of the season.
Newcomb has had an incredibly rough stretch of starts since starting his rookie campaign off so splendidly. Although his last four starts did come against the Astros, Nationals, Cubs and Dodgers. This Philadelphia lineup does not have near that kind of firepower, but has been one of the hottest in the league over the last several games.
The Atlanta bats gave Newcomb a little cushion to work with in the first inning, as Matt Adams drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Nick Markakis added on to the lead with a two-out RBI double.
The rookie southpaw began the game looking like the pitcher he was in his first four starts. He did not walk a batter in the first three innings and efficiently worked his way throughout the Phillies lineup without allowing a hit.
That changed in the fourth inning, when Newcomb got himself in a jam by allowing a leadoff walk then walked another batter later in the inning. That gave Obdubal Herrara a chance to make him pay with two outs, and he was successful, singling up the middle to cut the lead to 2-1.
Newcomb would make it through a tough fifth without anymore damage, but his pitch count was already near 100, an amazing stat considering he had only allowed two hits. His lingering control issues may have not led to a bunch of runs, but they still forced him out of the game much too early.
Atlanta would add another run in the fifth on a Tyler Flowers sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and nobody out. That would be the only run they were able to push across in the inning, which was a theme in this one. The Braves finished the night 1-13 in RISP, scoring just three runs on ten hits.
And the Braves bullpen has been an absolute mess of late. They need all the insurance they can get, and showed why once again on Saturday night. The Phillies were able to cut the lead in half in the eighth off Arodys Vizcaino, leaving Jim Johnson the opportunity to shut the door with a one-run lead on the road.
Of course, Johnson could not hold that lead. Obdubal Herrera would come through again, this time with a game-tying home-run. Johnson would finish the inning, but there was a feeling around Braves country that this game was not going to end well.
And it did not. The Braves managed a single hit in the 10th and 11th innings combined, and in the bottom half of the 11th the Phillies would walk-off. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ty Kelly came to the plate as a pinch hitter, hitting well under .200 for the season. It would not matter though, as his single of Rex Brothers sent the Braves home with another disappointing loss in Philadelphia.
Camp is going well…
God, Keanu Neal can deliver a ferocious blow. Although, I am not sure Devonta Freeman will be too happy about taking those type of hits in practice until he locks up a long-term deal with Atlanta. Save it for opponents, Keanu!
Atlanta United salvaged a point in the 93rd minute when Tito Villalba scored the game tying goal. His 10th goal of the season boosted him to the outright lead in goals scored on the team, and the last two have earned the Five Stripes four points all by themselves.
Splitting the points was definitely better than losing all three, but United fell back to fifth place in the East after the New York Red Bulls defeated the Montreal Impact to give them a one point advantage over Atlanta on the table.