In one of the most back and forth, up and down games so far this season, the Braves came up empty - you could actually say minus one - as the Phillies downed Atlanta, 5-4.
One of the storylines was the Braves offense's inability to drive in a run with runners in scoring position. Dan Uggla led this charge with three strikeouts with runners in scoring position, twice with runners on third and the other time with the tying run on second to end the game. It resulted in a game-worst -.392 WPA, which is certainly well-deserved. Uggla is now hitting .199 on the season.
The Phillies took an early lead off Brandon Beachy when Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer in the first inning, worth .222 WPA. Beachy threw 40 pitches and allowed five hits in the first. The Braves were able to answer with a run in the home half when Chipper Jones singled home Martin Prado, worth .094 WPA. However, with two in scoring position and one out, Uggla and Freddie Freeman both struck out.
Once Beachy was pulled after two innings due to an oblique strain, Cristhian Martinez relieved him with four perfect innings, including striking out the side in the third. He also provided a big blow with the bat in the fifth by tying the game at three on a two-run double, his first career hit, worth .166 WPA. However, worth even more that inning was an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded by Brian McCann, worth -.190.
The Braves put two in scoring position again in the sixth when Alex Gonzalez singled and Joe Mather doubled, all with two outs. A wild pitch by Cole Hamels scored Gonzalez to take the 4-3 lead, worth .152. With Mather on third, Diory Hernandez grounded out to end the inning.
Martinez was pulled for Cory Gearrin in the seventh, and after getting two outs, he allowed a double to Jimmy Rollins. Despite having much better numbers from the right side, Fredi Gonzalez elected to make Shane Victorino hit from that side by putting in Eric O'Flaherty for the third straight game. O'Flaherty threw what should have been strike three, but the umpire failed to call it, and McCann was close to being ejected for it. Given a second chance, Victorino singled up the middle to plate Rollins and tie the game at four, worth .207 WPA.
The Braves had another shot in the seventh when Prado doubled to lead off the inning. Yet again, Nate McLouth was asked to bunt, moving Prado to third and essentially eliminating Chipper's bat yet again as he was walked. McCann was also walked to load the bases with one out. And yet again, Uggla and Freeman both struck out to preserve the tie.
With O'Flaherty on the mound for the eighth, he gave up a leadoff double to Howard. Despite the entire world and every bit of common sense saying otherwise, O'Flaherty continued to pitch, and he gave up the go-ahead RBI single to Raul Ibanez, worth .230 WPA, the biggest swing in the game.
Gonzalez led off the eighth with a single and moved to second on the thousandth bunt of the game. But Eric Hinske struck out and Prado grounded out to end the inning and waste another opportunity.
But let's waste one more opportunity, shall we? Chipper walked with one out in the ninth, was erased by a fielder's choice, and pinch runner Jason Heyward moved to second on a passed ball with two outs. What did Uggla do? Struck out to end the game.
The Braves left 10 on base and went 2-13 with runners in scoring position. I'm not one to complain about RISP because the stat varies so much, but when it gets this bad it's worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the Braves executed four sac bunts, three from Nate McLouth. Sometimes it's nice to have four extra outs laying around.
Courtesy of Braves-Nation:
Stat of the Day:
Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and Dan Uggla were a combined -.908 WPA.
(PHI) Ryan Howard: .331
(PHI) Raul Ibanez: .215
(ATL) Alex Gonzalez: .199
(ATL) Dan Uggla: -.392
(ATL) Eric O'Flaherty: -.386
(ATL) Brian McCann: -.304