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The Braves thump the Phillies to take over first place

May 31, 2010, 4:13 PM EDT

Tommy Hanson pitches.jpgI said at the beginning of the season that the NL East was going to be a tight one this year. I also said that the Braves would win it. Neither of those calls looked particularly prescient for the first several weeks of the season as the Phillies started off as one of the hottest teams in baseball — scoring runs in bunches — and the Braves treated April like it was extended spring training.

But it’s a brand new season now, as the Braves took advantage of a struggling Phillies team in the past week or so and beat them soundly today — 9-3 — in order to take over first place.

Most of the damage was done against Joe Blanton, who obviously didn’t have it at the start of the day’s game. Many balls were hit hard, including a homer by Chipper Jones. Blanton had some help, though, by some indifferent Phillies defense that allowed Braves’ runners to take extra bases and a Phillies offense that continued to squander opportunities early.

Braves’ starter Tommy Hanson wasn’t too sharp himself in the early going, but he settled down in the third inning and cruised through the remainder of his day, finishing with only one run in 6.2 IP, and that run was an inherited thing allowed by reliever Peter Moylan.  The Phillies went on to score two more off the Braves’ bullpen in the seventh, but all of that headway was lost when Troy Glaus hit a three-run homer off Chad Durbin in the bottom half of the inning.

The Braves won 20 games in May. They’re obviously on fire and will fall back to Earth soon. The Phillies have looked awful lately. They’re obviously a supremely talented team and they will bounce back.

But for now the Braves are in first place and, at the very least, I’m feeling very confident about my prediction of a close race.

  1. Jon S. - May 31, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Braves scored 9 runs despite an 0 for 5 from Heyward. That’s a good sign right there. It’s nice to see the offense finally clicking.
    Earlier in the season there were a lot of baserunners and a lot of double plays. It seems that now those same baserunners are being driven in.

  2. Mann of Sandd - May 31, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    Is it just me or were the Braves Memorial Day caps especially nice?

  3. BC - May 31, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    Craig – enjoy it while it lasts…. As of this writing (10:12 pm ET, 5/30/2010) my Mets are 3-1/2 out. If we finish 3-1/2 out, I’ll pop the champagne!
    Provided of course the Mets are not up by 9 with 14 to play.

  4. Jonny5 - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Well congrats on flying high with your team in first. As predicted it’s “neck and neck”. The NL East is so tight, with the last place team 3.5 games back from the first place team. It could be the very first week of baseball by looking at that. Seriously every team in the NL East still has a pretty equal shot at leading the division. and it’s June. What the hell is going on with the Phillies? It’s like they don’t really want to win. It’s like they said, “lets just coast boys”. But then again, this is pretty typical of this team. They tend to slump in a bunch. Well look out when all their cylinders are firing in order is all, I hope.

  5. john pileggi - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    And everyone knows that the team in first on the Tuesday following the Monday on which Memorial Day is observed is the team to win the pennant………

  6. BigPhil - Jun 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    This is the poo-poo platter the Phills threw out there on Monday
    1. Ross Gload RF
    2. Greg Dobbs 3B
    3. Chase Utley 2B
    4. Ryan Howard 1B
    5. Shane Victorino CF
    6. Raul Ibanez LF
    7. Carlos Ruiz C
    8. Wilson Valdez SS
    9. Joe Blanton P
    I wouldn’t take that one, single game too seriously.

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