Braves’ current record: 46-39 (2nd in NL East, 4 games behind Washington Nationals)
July 6: Won 5-0 at Philadelphia Phillies
July 7: Won 6-3 at Philadelphia Phillies
July 8: Won 4-3 at Philadelphia Phillies
Due to the All-Star Break, the fourteenth week of the 2012 MLB season was shortened to a weekend series for most teams. Since the Braves were one of those teams, I’m going to do this week’s review a little differently.
I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate this entire piece to the accomplishments of the Braves over the weekend. I know — beating a team that’s 13 games under .500 and dead-last in the NL East shouldn’t be a big deal.
But if you’ve spent the last half-decade watching your team get tortured by the Philadelphia Phillies, you’d know how big a sweep at Citizens Bank Park really is.
The NL East has been the Phillies’ punching bag as of late, and I think I speak for fans of the other four teams when I say we’ve been waiting for this day. The biggest tree always falls the hardest, and Philly was the redwood oak that seemed impossible to bring down after years of solidifying growth.
Enough repeated blows could bring down any tree, though. That’s been the case with the 2012 Phillies, who have seen key player after key player take trips to the disabled list. They’re finally getting healthier, but it might be too late.
And that brings me to this weekend.
The Braves’ sweep in Philly was poetry in motion, and the audience really needed to see it. It had been years since the fans of Atlanta had seen their Braves go to Philadelphia and usher a beating so beautiful, even if it wasn’t all that dominant.
It appeared the Braves were sliding and stumbling into the All-Star Break, an unwelcome sight when paired with the Washington Nationals’ runaway success. This weekend’s sweep wasn’t the cure-all, but it did help to pull the Nats a little closer.
All weekend, Philly’s notorious fans were forced to sit on their hands and watch Brian McCann round the bases, hitting three homers in three games. They had to watch Craig Kimbrel do to their lineup what Brad Lidge did to the Braves in recent years. They had to watch the trio of Hanson, Hudson and Jurrjens earn victories on their field, and know there’s nothing their lineup could do about it.
Props to their fans for actually showing up, because there doesn’t seem to be much to cheer for with this year’s Phillies. Maybe they were only there because they couldn’t pawn their season tickets off on anyone else.
The weekend was just the tip of the iceberg for the Phillies. They head into the break having lost 10 of their last 11 games and, shockingly, are sellers in the approaching trade deadline. Nobody saw that one coming at the beginning of this season.
But the Braves, and their fans, are happy to push their rivals off the ledge, if that’s what this weekend did.
#Braves hold on for 4-3 victory to complete first three-game sweep vPhillies since May 31- June 2, 2010, first in Philly since April 5-7, 07
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) July 8, 2012
The week ahead:
Friday: vs. New York Mets, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday: vs. New York Mets, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: vs. New York Mets, 1:35 p.m.
Tuesday: vs. San Francisco Giants, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. San Francisco Giants, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: vs. San Francisco Giants, 12:10 p.m.