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Phillies 9, Braves 6

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The game wasn't really as close as the score indicated. Ramirez (5-5, 4.48) had to leave the game with no outs in the 5th with a "soft tissue injury" on a finger. No one knows how long he'll be out. He had given up 2 runs to that point, but had walked the leadoff man in the 5th. Villarreal came in and gave up 4 runs and the inherited run to bury the Braves in a 7-1 hole. Ramirez's final line was 4 innings, 3 runs, 1 hit, 1 homer, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. The Braves got 3 runs back in the bottom of the 5th, 2 of them on a Giles homer. But the Phillies got 2 more runs in the 8th to make it 9-4. Andruw hit a 2 run, 2 out, broken bat homer in the 9th to make it 9-6. Offensive contributors: Brian McCann had 3 hits, and Giles, Renteria, and Francoeur each had 2. Andruw's homer was his 27th, and Giles' homer was his 9th. Folks, I think we can go ahead and close the book on the season. The Braves didn't have enough pitching to compete this year. And many pitchers who were supposed to be relied on got hurt: Hampton, Boyer, Foster, Ramirez, Thomson, Davies, Reitsma, Devine, Sosa, McBride, and James all spent time on the DL this year. Most of those were ineffective anyway when healthy. Tim Hudson, who the Braves were relying on to be a front of the rotation pitcher, is having the worst year of his career and is showing little sign of recovering. The Braves had to go get 2 mediocre relievers in Wickman and Baez just to get people out in the bullpen. I don't know how much to do with it that Roger McDowell had, but with some of the joke pitchers he's had to deal with it wouldn't be fair to get rid of him yet. But I would think he has a short leash after next year. The only pitcher who has really performed as expected is Smoltz and he is 39. The good news on Smoltz is that his peripherals are very, very good and he is showing no signs of slowing down. The Braves should be giving young pitchers many opportunities from this point forward. I think Davies, James, and McBride all have solid futures. Anthony Lerew probably should get some chances in September. Other than those 4, I just don't see many young pitchers to be excited about. Matt Harrison and Jo-Jo Reyes are having solid seasons, but nothing special. Matt Wright looks promising, but he started the season in Double A and I'd never heard of him before this year (though that doesn't mean much). Will Startup was having a great year with 2 promotions before struggling at Triple A, but he doesn't project much more than a middle reliever. Tim Hudson will pitch against Cole Hamels tonight.
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