Fun Fact: my lady friend and I stayed overnight in Detroit on Saturday night. Yesterday morning we were leaving our room to go out and get some breakfast and who should be waiting for the elevator on our floor but John Kruk. Yes: I spent the night on the same hotel floor as John Kruk. There aren’t enough showers in the world.
Anyway, the lady friend noticed that Kruk didn’t look so good, like maybe he had a bad night sleep or something. I dunno. He looked just like John Kruk to me, though I did wonder if some tossing and turning would have him off his game 12 hours later when he had to do color commentary for the ESPN broadcast. Nope, seems he was all good. Even called Miguel Cabrera’s three-run homer just before he hit it:
Not bad. Much harder than calling something like, say, “this Braves hitter is about to strike out in ugly fashion,” which is something he could have said every at bat for the whole Tigers series and still had a pretty good prediction average.
Anyway, dirty secret: I kinda like John Kruk as booth guy so far. Like, way more than I thought I would.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.