Phillies shell Ian Anderson, but Braves finish successful June in good position

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson reacts after giving up a single to Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Castellanos during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson reacts after giving up a single to Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Castellanos during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Credit: AP

PHILADELPHIA – The Braves’ dominant June ended with Thursday’s 14-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Atlanta is 44-33.

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Here are five observations:

1. The Phillies pummeled the Braves, handing Atlanta a classic beatdown before it heads to Cincinnati. This one was ugly.

It should not, however, diminish the larger picture: With an excellent June, the Braves positioned themselves for an opportunity to win a fifth straight division title months from now.

The Braves went 21-6 in June. They tied the franchise’s Atlanta-era record for most wins in a calendar month. They began the month 10 1/2 games behind the Mets and are now only 3 1/2 behind their division rivals.

“Hopefully I’ll look back in three more months and think that’s the month that propelled us to another division title,” manager Brian Snitker said. “These guys should be proud of what they accomplished in this month, and where we were for the first two months and to kind of turn things around and have a really, really great month like we did, and kind of solidified where everybody thought we would be. It’s good. We just got to keep building on things.”

2. For Ian Anderson, the bottom of the second inning started like this: Single, double, single, single, double. Just like that, the Phillies led by three runs.

Minutes later, after pitching coach Rick Kranitz visited the mound, Anderson surrendered a three-run bomb to Nick Castellanos that pushed the deficit to six runs.

“They seemed to be on the fastball pretty good,” Anderson said. “Got in some bad counts and they made me pay for it. Pitch to Castellanos, wanted the fastball away. I just saw it leak back the whole time, so you knew that probably wasn’t going to be a favorable outcome. It’s frustrating.”

Anderson only lasted two innings. The Phillies sent 10 men to the plate in the second inning. The first five collected hits and seven of the first eight reached base. It was not pretty.

Officially, Anderson allowed seven runs on seven hits over those two innings. He threw 54 pitches.

“Make sure it never happens again, probably,” Anderson said of how he leaves this one behind. “Do everything I can in between starts to have a different result.”

3. Thus far, Anderson has had a disappointing season. As Max Fried has pitched like an ace and Kyle Wright has emerged, Anderson hasn’t yet gained his footing.

At times, he’s looked great – like when he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Chicago on June 19, or when he tossed six frames of one-run baseball in Milwaukee on May 16. But he has allowed four or more earned runs in seven of 15 starts, including three starts of five or more earned runs. He has a 5.31 ERA.

“I don’t think it’s been very good,” Anderson said of his season. “I feel like I’m just not executing the way I want to execute. I’ve had some favorable results, had some good games, so I know it’s in there. But overall, I just think it’s been a little inconsistent.”

At 24, Anderson is still young. He has experienced a lot. He pitched in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in 2020 and pitched in the World Series last season. There’s a lot of time left for him to achieve some consistency this season.

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4. Summoned to take a chunk out of the game after Anderson’s short start, Jesus Cruz at one point allowed homers to three of four batters in a stretch.

Cruz, who had pitched well for the Braves, got two quick outs in the third inning. He had two strikes on Kyle Schwarber, but he grooved a 94-mph fastball down the middle and Schwarber pulverized a 420-foot, three-run home run. The Braves trailed by nine runs.

The next batter, Rhys Hoskins, hit a 397-foot solo shot. Cruz retired the next batter to end the third, but he served up a solo bomb to Darick Hall – Hall’s first hit, home run and RBI all in one – to begin the bottom of the fourth.

5. The Braves on Thursday night acquired right-hander Silvino Bracho from the Red Sox for cash. He had been on Boston’s big-league roster, but the club designated him for assignment.

He has a 4.82 career ERA. He has pitched in the majors for parts of five seasons, most recently in 2020. All of his big-league action came with Arizona.

Phillies 14, Braves 4

Stat to know

5 - Thursday marked the first time this season that the Braves allowed five home runs in a game.

Quotable

“It’s a great month. Credit to everyone in there. We’re playing really great baseball, beating the teams we were supposed to beat and winning two out of three here to cap off the month is a heck of a series. We’re going to have a ton of more battles with these guys, but we’ve put ourselves in a good position. Play the Mets a bunch still, play these guys a bunch still, so there’s a lot out there.” - Anderson on the Braves’ June

Up next

Fried will go up against Reds lefty Mike Minor in Friday’s series opener, which begins at 6:40 p.m. in Cincinnati.