Wisler sharp again for Braves

The Braves weren’t scoring runs for right-hander Matt Wisler. Now second baseman Chase d’Arnaud muffed a ground ball hit by Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera with two outs and a runner on base in the seventh inning.

Would this be the moment when the young pitcher folds?

“I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to unravel here,’” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “But the kid pitched great.”

Wisler snagged a sharp ground ball by the next hitter, Cesar Hernandez, to end the seventh. He went on to pitch eight innings for the second consecutive start while allowing three runs.

The Braves lost 3-2 to the Phillies but Wisler continues to make strides after a strong finish to his rookie season in 2015. His 3.27 ERA and 6 ¾ innings per start are the best marks among Braves pitchers.

Gonzalez said he’s “ecstatic” and “excited” about Wisler’s development. First baseman Freddie Freeman said Wisler “has been awesome all year.”

Wisler (1-3) was more subdued in his self-assessment. He said he’s generally pleased with his progress but lamented giving up Cesar Hernandez’s RBI single in the fifth inning and Maikel Franco’s home run to lead off the eighth.

“I feel good to go out there and be able to give the team some innings, keep us in the ballgame,” Wisler said. “I did a good job of limiting (damage) today. But that two-out hit and that home run to start the eighth, I can’t have that happen.”

Wisler said both pitches were hanging sliders. Hernandez’s single scored No. 9 hitter Peter Bourjos, who doubled to left field with one out. That put the Phillies ahead 2-1 after the Braves had tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning.

Franco tallied his seventh home run of the season when he put Wisler’s first pitch of the eighth inning into left-field seats.

“I went out there and hanged the first pitch to a guy you can’t hang one to,” Wisler said. “He’s an aggressive hitter and he’s got power. That’s the wrong pitch in that situation.”

Wisler allowed a total of eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks. He threw 68 strikes among his 104 total pitches.

The Braves managed just four hits and a run against over seven innings against Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan. Freeman homered to lead off the ninth inning and Kelly Johnson singled with two outs but pinch hitter Reid Brignac flied out to center to end the game.

The way Wisler saw it, he was pretty good but he needed to be better.

“Today was a little frustrating,” he said. “I just got out-pitched. Their guy threw really well. Our team battled today. They tried to coming back the he ninth, put a good effort in. You can’t blame the effort or anything like that. I feel good for the most part.”