From time to time, Dan Uggla reminds everyone why he has such a huge contract. Two home runs, including a grand slam in the ninth, is probably a good enough reminder as the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-6 in what people would refer to as a slugfest.
Uggla, Evan Gattis (also twice) and Andrelton Simmons hit home runs for the Braves; Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown also hit a couple for the Phillies, while Marlon Byrd with an RBI single got the only RBI of the game that wasn’t a home run. The Braves did most of their damage off of B.J. Rosenberg who came on to give up three hits and three home runs while Luis Avilan, usually a very difficult player to hit, got crushed by the Phillies, although he was the one who eventually picked up the win.
But the Phillies’ loss went to Jacob Diekman, going for the save, and instead finding himself in quite the jam as Dan Uggla hit his first grand slam home run since 2008, bringing home B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman. The two home runs were the first this season for Uggla, getting to 10 RBIs on the year and improving his batting average to .222. The Braves obviously need him for power, not just accuracy and efficiency, and maybe this was what open up everything for him.
The Phillies actually did pretty well with most of the Braves’ lineup, but got stuck in the middle. Gattis, Uggla and Simmons combined to hit the ball 7 times in the game out of a total nine for the Braves. The Phillies didn’t do all that well in general with eight hits and getting most of their points in a wild 8th innings for both sides, but almost won the game thanks to a three-run homer from Dominic Brown, bringing home Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd.
David Carpenter got the save for the Braves with Diekman’s problems in the ninth highlighting how people saying anyone can pull off those saves in the ninth are probably wrong. Maybe saves are an overrated stat and might not tell the true story of what happened and need a bit of adjustment and statistical dissecting to make them show their true value, but the less “numbery” way to look at it? Not everyone can go on and pitch well enough in the ninth inning without letting the pressure get to them, regardless of how close the game is.