Phils Win Again, Starring NL Saves Leader Jeanmar Gomez

It was a long first 32 games of the season having not played the Atlanta Braves, the 7-23 National League doormat that everyone predicted the Phillies would be this year. (And also the Braves. But mostly the Phils.) The Fightins finally got a break from the average-to-good competition and got their first crack at the ATL last night, and they did not fail to capitalize. Maikel Franco returned to looking like Maikel Franco (3-4 with a homer on just eight pitches), Adam Morgan pitched like someone better than Adam Morgan (7 IP, 1ER, 4H, 1BB, 4K), and a couple good ol'-fashioned manufactured runs were enough to make the difference in this one. Final score: Phils 3, Braves 2. 

The game wouldn't have ended up quite so interesting if not for the efforts of our closer, Jeanmar Gomez: or has he shall heretofore be addressed, NL Saves Leader Jeanmar Gomez. Yes, he might not have been one of the first three Phillies relievers selected in your NL-only fantasy draft, but after last night's victory, JG has now saved 12 of the Phils' 17 wins, as many as any pitcher in the Senior Circuit - thirteenupling his career saves total in the process, and already coming within five of Jonathan Papelbon's team-high 17 SVs last year. Not bad. 

Of course, Tuesday night's effort won't exactly make the Highlight Reel for his Rolaids Relief Man video presentation - assuming that award's a thing that still exists, or has in the last 25 years. Jeanmar let up four long fly balls; luckily, only one of them actually left the park, and the Phils could handle that much thanks to the two-run lead Franco had staked them to a couple innings prior. This will be a long season of narrow escapes and borderline-disasters with our pitch-to-contact closer (about 7 K/9, hardly an exemplary throw-'em-where-they-ain't mark for a closer) since occasionally when he pitches, they'll really frigign' contact the thing. Get used to it, especially if we're gonna keep up this whole wins-and-losses-actually-mattering thing. 

Game two against Los Bravos tomorrow night, with Jerad Eickhoff taking the hill against Jhoulys Chacin. The 17-12 Phils are now on a preposterous streak of their last seven wins all being by just one run, and as long as we have a rotating cast of young pitchers who can go a strong seven and never have more than two hot hitters in the lineup at the same time, JG should have a downright Messianic number of save opportunities this year. Might be time to start thinking nicknames soon.

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