I warned you guys in the series preview that this was going to be a tough series, and it was. The Phillies are a very good team, we were playing in their ballpark, and we were missing key players. Given those facts, we should not be too disappointed with losing 2 out of 3 (though you might be upset with how they lost).
As I had feared, the Braves had a hard time with the Phillies' left-handed starters (especially against Jamie Moyer). Matt Diaz's struggles have really crippled the Braves in this regard. Basically only Troy Glaus and David Ross have been at all consistent against southpaws. Diaz is hitting only .161 off lefties, which is less than half of his career average against them (.337). Given the wealth of lefties in our division (and especially on the Phillies), the Braves will need to find some way to improve their hitting versus left-handers if they hope to get back into the race.
On the bright side, the Braves pitched a great game on Saturday and got a few timely hits, too. Another positive sign is that our players are returning to health. Yunel is scheduled to come off the DL this week and by all accounts will be 100% healthy. Heyward should be back soon. Ditto for Chipper (though who knows). Even Jurrjens is almost back--he'll be starting a week from tomorrow if all goes according to plan.
If you really want to feel good about something, think about the bullpen. This weekend saw the debut of Craig Kimbrel, which will probably go down as the most noteworthy event of the series. Also, check out the bullpen's stats for the series, in the "Braves' Pitching MVPs" section below. If that doesn't make you go "Wow!", I don't know what will. Awards for both teams are after the jump.
Braves' Hitting MVP: Troy Glaus-- 5/11, BB, 3 RBI, K (Yes, he had a terrible game on Saturday and a negative WPA in the series, but who else was I going to pick? Melky Cabrera was the only other Brave to get a hit in 2 different games in this series.)
Phillies' Hitting MVPs: Jayson Werth-- 3/10, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, HBP, SB, and a total WPA of 0.245; and Placido Polanco-- 7/13, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI, and a total WPA of 0.140
Braves' Pitching MVPs: The Bullpen-- 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 7 K, and a combined WPA of 0.357 (A 1-hit shutout in the series! Well done, boys.)
Phillies' Pitching MVP: Jamie Moyer-- 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, a 0.276 WPA... and now the oldest man ever to throw a shutout.
Clutch Play of the Series: Werth's 3-run bomb off of Lowe, 0.266 WPA
Braves' Hitting LVPs: Matt Diaz-- 0/8, GIDP, K, and a total -0.249 WPA; and Nate McLouth-- 1/10, R, BB, HBP, GIDP, 3 K, and a total -0.259 WPA
Phillies' Hitting LVP: Wilson Valdez-- 1/11, 2 RBI, 3 GIDP, 2 K, and a colossal -0.447 WPA for the series (man, they need Rollins back ASAP)
Braves' Pitching LVP: Derek Lowe (who else)-- 5 IP, 7 R, 11 H, 2 BB, 2 K, and a -0.227 WPA.
Phillies' Pitching LVP: Nobody really pitched terribly.
Un-clutch play of the Series: Valdez grounding into a double-play with 2 on against Peter Moylan in the 6th inning on Saturday, -0.141 WPA