Saturday, July 19, 2014

Burnett, Phillies fall in series opener with Braves

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 19 2014, 11:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

A.J. Burnett admitted last week he's heard his name mentioned as a potential trade target, yet he was quick to say the talk never seeps into his mind while on the mound.

"You learn to deal with it," Burnett said. "Especially if you're around the game long enough. I don't comment on it."

Burnett's value may have taken a slight hit Friday night in Atlanta as the Braves scored four times in the second frame en route to a 6-4 victory over the Phillies at Turner Field.

"Everything was up," Burnett said. "I was off. [Jason] Heyward hit a change-up up. The curveball was up. A few innings in the middle I got it where I wanted to but it was inconsistent. You can't pitch against this club and be inconsistent, that's for sure."
Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett
The Braves had nine of 10 hits and five of six runs come with two outs.

"Not the start we wanted the second half," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We had some good at-bats though, with some men on base. It felt good jumping out early but they came right back with the four runs."

The Phillies jumped ahead with a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Braves quickly answered with four runs in the second and another two runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

The loss knocked the Phillies to 12 games below .500 and increased the probability that major changes to the roster will come prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"The guys bounce back each day and they come out to win the game," Sandberg said. "That's been the demeanor of the guys and that'll continue. We have a game [Saturday]. We have Cole [Hamels] so I'm looking forward to that."

Hamels will oppose veteran right-hander Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.53 ERA) on Saturday. 

Hamels had a 2.18 ERA in his past 13 starts entering the All-Star break, but was just 3-3 during that stretch thanks in part to poor run support from the Phillies offense.

"It's kind of something I think I've battled for a while, and hopefully I don't have to battle it for too much longer," Hamels said. "I know I am human and it does always kind of creep into your head a little bit. I think that's just kind of the competitive nature that I have and just the understanding of what's going on in that sense. But I still have to be able to locate and I have to throw strikes and I have to go after guys."

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