Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Herrera's three-run blast lifts Eflin and Phillies over Braves in opener

Odubel Herrera lifts Philadelphia past Atlanta
Odubel Herrera has proven to be one of the most maddening players to watch on this current Phillies team, but he showed again in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park that he can be a difference maker.

Herrera collected three hits, including a three-run homer in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. He finished 3-for-4 and led the Phillies to their second straight win on the current eight-game road trip that concludes Wednesday night.

Herrera's homer was unique because the ball was just 0.73 feet off the ground when he made contact, according to Major League Baseball's Statcast. The ball literally was at his feet.


“That ball looked like it was at his ankles and he just golfed it out of there,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He stayed back, but if you stay back on the soft stuff you have a chance to put it in play and he did.”

“I don’t know how to play golf, but I liked it,” Herrera said.

Zach Eflin pitched well for the Phillies, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings after spending the better part of the last two months at triple A. He struck out three and walked one.

“I was excited about the way I finished,” Eflin said. “Obviously, you want to go the whole game like you do every game. But to be able to hunker down and get the guys out that I needed to get out was really big for me. Especially after going down and working on everything I needed to work on in triple A and coming back up. I needed to prove to myself that I could fight through adversity and get through that inning.”

Eflin had solid movement on all of his pitches and worked the zone well to keep the Braves off-balance at the plate. The effort was good to see considering the high hopes the Phillies have on him for the future.

“I want to be a part of this team and this future,” Eflin said. “I want to go through the ups and downs with all of these guys. I want to be here. That’s the only thing on my mind. I want to pitch well and I want to be here and I want to win a lot of ball games. I just have to keep working every single day and stick to the game plan and feel comfortable on the mound.”

Braves starter Julio Teheran surrendered five runs on seven hits. He lasted just five innings and saw his ERA rise to 5.25 on the season.

Nick Williams drove in the Phillies' first run with an RBI double and Eflin helped himself with an RBI single to shallow center to give the Phillies a 2-1 in the fourth. Herrera's blast advanced the Phillies lead and put the game out of reach.

The two clubs conclude their quick two-game set on Wednesday as Jerad Eickhoff is set to oppose Sean Newcomb.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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