That game didn't go at all like I expected, but in a good way. Kris Medlen, who has really labored with the Phillies in past, finally looked like the Medlen we saw from 2012. He was in full command, making good pitches, keeping the ball down, and getting through innings with a minimum of stress effort. As a result, Kris was able to mow through 7 innings with only a single earned run on 5 hits and one walk. The bullpen then shut the door with Carpenter in the 8th and Kimbrel in the 9th. Some of you have had your doubts about Carpenter, but I think it's important to note: David Carpenter has only given up a single earned run in the entirety of August over 8 innings, and that was in an 11-2 win over the Rockies. In fact, the last time Carpenter has held the opponent scoreless in 28 of his 32 appearances for an ERA of 1.76 on the season. He's been very clutch, and moved into a nice setup role for a guy like Kimbrel. Craig was so dominant last night he got a save on 9 pitches, putting away the Phillies to get his 14th consecutive save, and 37th on the season.
The bats were not booming, which I had expected against a guy like Martin for the Phillies, but they still got the job done. 2-9 with RISP is nothing to write home about, especially when the Braves left the bases loaded when BMac grounded into a double play. Unfortunately for us, Brian has been in a wicked slump in the month of August batting just .211 with only 4 RBIs. This is on the heels of a blistering July where Brian hit .337 with 6 jacks. That's sort of been his M.O. over this season. He had a good May then a bad June then a great July and now a bad August. A lot of that has to do with wear and tear, and Brian had a knee issue that was bugging him over the Miami series. I'm not averse to giving him a large rest in September so that he's fresh for the October run.
The key players in this game were Justin, Jason, and Johnson. The Triple J's managed to collect 5 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs on the way to the Braves 3-1 win. The third run came on Tyler Pastornicky streaking to the plate after Kris Medlen knocked a long double past a confused right fielder. Medlen was doing it from all parts of the field last night to collect his 4th win in a row, and draw even at 10-10 on the season. Considering the absolutely awful start he had with run support, that's outstanding how he's rounded out as we crest the final hill to home field advantage. (Except for the World Series because Bud Selig is a turd).
The CPA (63-40) was shocked at the lack of hitting and the missed opportunities in a game it expected to be higher scoring. It was not shocked that the Braves won. Now it looks at the rubber game between Beachy and Lannan.
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 6 - Phillies 4
Lannan has had major problems on the road, and his record shows it. He's 1-4 in 6 games with a 7.53 road ERA. The downside is that he's managed to pitch the Braves pretty well in the past. In that scenario, I think it's important to look at the recent efforts over the historical trends. The CPA weighs them out and makes an adjustment based off those outings and the bullpen for the Phillies, which is very suspect. Beachy had a great last outing, but it was against the Marlins, so the CPA thinks he'll get touched up a little more by a better hitting team. Even so, it believes the Braves win this series.