Rookie Eude Brito threw six shutout innings, leading the Phillies to a surprise win against Tim Hudson and the Braves 4-1 Monday night. The Phils have played back-to-back superb games.
Brito (1-0, 1.72 ERA) baffled hitters with a swooping slider, striking out seven for his first career win. He didn’t allow a hit until the fifth and only three the entire night.
The left-hander got four early runs to play with, two coming on Pat Burrell’s seeing-eye single in the third inning. Then in the fifth, Jimmy Rollins and Kenny Lofton helped craft a nifty two-run inning, aided by a Rollins stolen base and Lofton’s beautiful bunt base hit. Rollins eventually scored on a throwing error, and Lofton came in on a fielder’s choice.
Hudson (12-8, 3.36) didn’t have his best command, allowing three earned and surrendering two walks. MVP candidate Andruw Jones was a non-factor, going 1-4 on the night.
The Braves only run came on Todd Hollandsworth’s solo home run off Ugueth Urbina in the eighth.
Ryan Madson and Billy Wagner pitched scoreless frames in the seventh and ninth. For Wagner, it was his 33rd save of the season.
- The Phillies have played back-to-back brilliant ball games, but has anyone noticed? I’ve been most impressed with Jimmy Rollins, who seems to have turned some sort of corner. J-Roll deserves very little praise for the first eight or so games of his hitting streak, but he’s red-hot lately, pacing this team with a long-overdo reassessment of his duties as a leadoff hitter. He’s being more patient at the dish, even taking first pitches for strikes. In one week, his on base percentage has jumped 10 points.
- Eude Brito notched seven strikeouts and would have had more if he was throwing to a better target. Anyone that doesn’t understand what John Marzano means by a "soft target" needs to watch catcher Mike Matheny, then watch at tape of Mike Lieberthal last night. Trying to handle Brito’s downward sliders, Lieberthal was snapping at everything, actually pulling the glove down and out of the zone on pitches that should have been called strikes. A better catcher, like Matheny, will cushion those pitches and ease the ball back into the zone.
- I would not be surprised if this is Johnny Estrada's last season as a starting catcher, at least in Atlanta. With rookie Brian McCann alreay up and contributing with the big club, Estrada's poor season at the plate (.259/.301/.361) should put the Kevin Millwood trade in better perspective.
- Here's a trip down memory lane. Brito beating Hudson reminded me of the time another unheralded Phils left-hander beat a stud Atlanta pitcher back in 1996. On Aug. 8 of that year, playing in Fulton County Stadium, rookie Matt Beech beat Greg Maddux, going seven innings, giving up three hits and one earned run. The score of that one: Phillies 4, Braves 1.