Evan Gattis was the Braves’ only source of offense this afternoon against Cole Hamels in the series finale in Philadelphia. The Braves scored two runs on two hits, both Gattis solo home runs — one in the second inning, and one in the seventh, giving him 18 on the season. The Phillies scored twice in the first inning against Braves starter Paul Maholm on an RBI double by Chase Utley and an RBI single by Darin Ruf.
After Hamels tossed a scoreless eighth inning, running his pitch count to 99, Darin Ruf cracked a tie-breaking solo home run to right field against Braves reliever David Carpenter. B.J. Rosenberg was called on in the ninth to lock down the save, and he retired the Braves in short order for his first career save. The Phillies complete a sweep for the first time since June 3-5 against the Marlins. The Braves were last swept August 22-24 against the Cardinals.
The first home run by Gattis, which landed in the concourse area in left-center at Citizens Bank Park, was measured at 486 feet, the longest of the season according to ESPN Stats & Info. Logan Morrison hit one to right-center at Marlins Park on Friday that measured at 484 feet.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.