It took 4 pitchers, but it happened; The Phillies beat the Braves 7-0, and they no-hit them in the process. It's the first time that the Braves have suffered this version of the no-no, and the first combined no-hitter in Phillies history. Also, Andrelton Simmons made an error, Jason Heyward lost a ball in the sky, Ben Revere had 5 RBIs (he now has 20 on the season. There's that theme again), Jose Constanza pinch hit for Justin Upton (and like everyone else with a brain, Justin was none too pleased with this managerial decision) and the Braves have scored 1 run in their last 28 innings. So yeah, this was a grrrrreat way to start off the final month of the season! Here's The Good Phight's account of the game for all the masochists and/or voyeurs reading this.
Even though they started off September with a bang (a bang that sounded like flatulence, but a bang nonetheless), we've entered the final month of the season, and it's clear that the NL East race is pretty much done and that the Braves are now in a 4-team race for those 2 precious yet precarious Wild Card spots. The Braves don't have an extremely difficult schedule for this final month, but as Andrew said in the post, it doesn't matter how easy a schedule is if you don't play well, and that's just about the size of it. The Braves just have to take care of their own business before worrying about anything else.
For those who don't know, Phil Gosselin grew up in Philadelphia and like any kid who didn't want to catch a beating in that area, grew up as a Phillies fan as well. Naturally, he was excited for the team back when they won the World Series in 2008. 6 years later, I doubt that he was all that excited about what happened yesterday, as his favorite team from childhood ended up no hitting him as a pro. In fact, Gosselin made the last out. Of all the bad fortune that the Braves had yesterday, this was probably the biggest sign that the Baseball Gods meant for this to happen.
In much more optimistic news, let's talk about Alex Wood! The man had an outstanding performance on Sunday after he went 8 innings and struck out 12 in the Braves' 1-0 victory over the Marlins. Wood is now starting to establish himself as one of the best pitchers that Atlanta has at their disposal, and he's done so thanks to being pretty good at picking up called strikeouts. Now, what's the secret that the headline alluded to? We'll let our friends at Beyond The Box Score tell you:
One of Wood's pitches in particular has been adept at catching hitters looking; it's also a pitch that has grown in popularity as of late. I speak of the knuckle-curve, which he has thrown 21.7% of the time in his starts, and which has resulted in a looking strike 34.9%* of the time. In no small part because of its ability to garner backward Ks, Wood's knuckle-curve ranks third in the majors in efficacy.
For the first time in almost 5 months, the Brewers have been toppled from their position in 1st place, and of course the Cardinals were the team to do it. St. Louis jumped into 1st after they came from behind to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 yesterday. Down 4-2 in the 7th, a homer from Kolten Wong tied it up, then Matt Holliday singled in Jon Jay (after he tripled) for what ended up being the game-winning run. The win propelled St. Louis in first place, because their rivals in Wisconsin...
...they lost to the Cubs. Well, if you're going to fall out of 1st place, then a proper time to do so is after you lost to the Cubs. Milwaukee's offense has been struggling as of late, and those struggles continued as they only scored 2 runs against the Cubs. It's now apparent that we're going to have ourselves a nice little pennant race in the Central, although it'd probably be in the Braves interest to hope that one of these teams begins to fade quickly, which would make it a little easier for Atlanta to swoop in for that final wild card spot. The Braves are 1.5 behind the Brewers for that spot, by the way.