Five observations on Braves’ loss to Phillies on Wednesday

Atlanta Braves' Matt Olson, right, celebrates with Dansby Swanson, left, after hitting a two-run home run against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Gibson during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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Atlanta Braves' Matt Olson, right, celebrates with Dansby Swanson, left, after hitting a two-run home run against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Gibson during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA – The Braves didn’t have a good showing in Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Here are five observations on the Braves (59-41), who lost the series here:

1. The Braves have experienced great success over the past two months.

There is something they’ve struggled to do recently, though: win series finales. The Braves are 1-8 in their past nine such games.

“I think it’s just one of those weird things where it’s happened,” Austin Riley said.

The Braves have lost those eight series finales by an average of around four runs per game. One was a 10-run loss to the Phillies, another an eight-run loss to the Angels.

The Braves also are 15-19 in day games.

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2. Charlie Morton allowed five runs – four earned – over five innings. And all scored in a disastrous fifth inning.

“I’m not going to look at that outing and just focus on that,” Morton said. “I think it’s more disappointing that I had pitched really well, team’s in a good spot and it’s just a really sloppy fifth.”

He issued a leadoff walk. Then he made an errant pickoff attempt that allowed the runner to go from first to third.

Eventually, there was a run-scoring single, an error by second baseman Robinson Canó, another run-scoring single, a sacrifice fly, a walk and a two-run single. In between, the Phillies stole three bases.

The Braves will move on from this.

“I think everybody kind of handles these things their own way,” Morton said. “For me, I can lose a game on my own. I can make enough bad pitches where I can single-handedly put my team in a spot where we lose the game. I don’t really think that most guys in here are thinking that way – and they shouldn’t be. But certainly, if I pitch my way into the fifth inning, I’m in a good spot, team’s in a good spot, I go out there and do what I did in the fifth inning today, that’s on me.

“That’s a big deal. I gave up five runs in that fifth inning. But then objectively, it’s like, it was a bad inning and I can kind of isolate it to that – those pitches and that inning.”

3. In the sixth inning, Riley hit a soft liner. Perhaps destined for the outfield, the ball landed in the glove of a leaping Alec Bohm at third base.

This ball would’ve extended Riley’s MLB-best hitting streak to 19 games.

Instead, the run ended at 18.

“Obviously, things feel good,” Riley said of hitting during a streak like that. “During those stretches, you try to stay – I’ve always talked about staying inside myself, inside my approach and stick to that. I think that’s even more important when you’re feeling good because you start getting swing happy. The big key is just stay within yourself.”

During the run, which began July 5, he hit .444 with a 1.383 OPS, eight home runs and 16 RBIs. His hitting streak was the longest by a Braves starter since Freddie Freeman’s 18-game hitting streak in 2020.

“It really solidified in a lot of people’s minds, even outside of this team, how good he is,” Morton said.

Told about Morton’s comment, Riley said: “It is nice. The biggest thing you try to earn in this game, I think, is the respect of your teammates. And to do that is nice.”

4. Manager Brian Snitker gave Ronald Acuña a mental break. He was available off the bench, but never got in the game.

Over his past 32 games, Acuña is batting .212 with a .582 OPS. He had three doubles, two homers and seven RBIs, and struck out 34 times over 132 at-bats.

“Just keep waiting because I think at any point, he can get those couple of hits and feel good and get on a run,” Snitker said. “He really hasn’t done that. When he does, it’s going to be really good because he’s going to do it. He’s going to work through this.”

5. Here’s a positive for the Braves: Eddie Rosario had two more hits Wednesday.

He went 4-for-6 with an RBI in the final two games of the series. He’s showing signs of life after struggling since returning from the injured list July 4.

“He’s a bat-to-ball guy,” Snitker said. “We’re starting to see what he’s about and what we saw last year. It’s just a matter of getting out there and playing. Now, he’s getting more consistent at-bats. I’ve liked a lot what I’m seeing.”

Stat to know

3-for-28 - Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4, and the rest of the Braves were 3-for-28.

Quotable

“We were an out away from probably winning the series. It’s going to happen. You’re going to have to fight through some adversity. We have before and we will again.” - Snitker on how he views the series

Up next

The Braves are off Thursday, but return to action Friday against the Diamondbacks at Truist Park.