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Back to the Lecture at Hand: Phils, Braves, Elements?

Aug 28, 2009, 5:37 PM EDT

I can't really think of a time I was more proud of a 3 ER loser to a last place team on the brink of relegation (if there in fact were relegation in MLB) than I was of JA Happ last night. Sure, it sucks the Phillies lost a series to the Pirates, but his clear displeasure at taking the L showed that this team still totally gives a shit about its remaining schedule despite being up seven games. 

Seven games with a month+ of baseball left isn't nearly the comfy lead you can rest on, and no team should ever back into the playoffs anyway. Plus, the Phils open a series with one of the two teams trailing them by seven tonight, with the Braves in town. If they continue to hit and/or blow leads like they did against the Pirates, the Braves will catch up quickly. 

I'm assuming the Phillies players feel the same way about Happ and his efforts this season as we do, and hopefully they can channel that into some motivation to batter Braves starter Tommy Hanson tonight. Hanson is Happ's primary comp for NL Rookie of the Year honors, and he too is pretty deserving. Considered one of the top prospects likely to be called up at some point this season, Hanson has paid off more than guys like Matt Wieters, David Price, Matt LaPorta, and others, posting a 9-2 record with a 3.12 ERA since his June 7 call-up. Meanwhile, Happ wasn't in most of those discussions when spring training broke. It was expected he'd be good, just not this good. 

As a baseball fan, I'm interested to see the Hanson kid pitch tonight. His numbers against lefties aren't quite as good as his righty split, so it should be an challenging matchup for both sides. On the mound for the Phillies will be a future Hall-of-Famer that the young Braves righthander probably idolized, Mr. Pedro Martinez. We still have no idea just how the Pedro Bet will pay off, but at least the Phils are winning his starts despite his 5+ ERA so far. 

I'm still pissed at the Braves for the opening series in the 2009 season. Hopefully the Phils are too. 

The weather is pretty iffy, but at least for the moment, it isn't raining…