Craig Kimbrel gave up a single, two walks and then a sacrifice fly to Chase Utley, allowing the Phillies to tie the Braves 3-3 in the top of the ninth.
Kimbrel remained in afterwards, but he was pulled after another walk, this one to Hunter Pence, loaded the bases. Kris Medlen, making just his second appearance back from Tommy John surgery, got Michael Martinez to pop-up to end the top of the ninth. Martinez previously entered the game as a pinch-runner for Ryan Howard.
The Braves will send up Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and maybe Jack Wilson in the bottom of the ninth. With the Cardinals up seven, the Braves will almost certainly have to win tonight in order to force a playoff.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.