Well all good things must come to an end. The Braves finally met their match in the ironic form of the Miami Marlins. The Braves have only lost 16 games at home this season, and 3 of them have gone against the Marlins. That's just silly. The Marlins can barely tie their own shoes, let alone score runs, but when the Braves fail to plate even a single run in Game 2? Well statistics show that you lose 100% of those games.
Game 1 was exactly what you expected from a good Braves offense. Early and often. In the first inning, the Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the back of two homers, one by Justin and one by CJ. I was at that game, and I must say we were all pleasantly shocked. We weren't used to see that kind of explosion right off the bat. I can say with some certainty that the boys were showing off for a famous celebrity I got a picture of in the SunTrust seats: Evander Holyfield. That man is literally impossible to miss when he's walking around. It's almost akin to seeing Bo Jackson wandering around the stadium. They are just instantly recognizable due to their size. Needless to say, the Braves showed off their own power with 3 homers that sealed the Game 5-0. The shutout was courtesy of Mr. Beachy, who looked about as good as he had since the prior year. If you're looking for signs of progression from the young lad off Tommy John, that game was a great indicator that he is on the way back.
Game 2 was an offensive disaster on both sides. Both teams went 0-1 with RISP. I didn't believe that was humanly possible to have BOTH teams only get one runner in scoring position all game, and then both fail at getting a hit as well. However, it happened. Recapping this particular game almost causes me physical pain from the derth of statistics. Here's what I can tell you. Both teams had 3 hits a piece. Both teams struck out in the double digits. There was a 54 minute rain delay in the 2nd that possible threw everyone off their game. Jim Joyce decided he didn't like whatever name Chris Johnson called him in the first AB, and tossed his butt out of the game. He was replaced by the struggling Paul Janish, who is making BJ's slumps at the plate look like a stroll through a dewy freaking meadow. Paul has yet to collect a hit in 2013. In fact his last his was in August of 2012. Yes, I had to look that up. There's a reason he only comes in as a defensive replacement these days. Anyway, the game was awful, and we lost because it was the inevitable conclusion that someone would make a stupid mistake. That was Walden giving up a leadoff triple and a wild pitch in the 9th. Ho-hum the streak is dead.
Game 3 could have easily been a game where the Braves turned off their brains and just let another game slide. They didn't. More importantly, Freddie Freeman didn't. The Braves let the lead slip early when the Marlins crushed Mike Minor for 3 runs in the 2nd inning. It was looking ugly before Freeman reminded everyone why he's a potential NL MVP candidate for the year. In the 5th inning, down 3-1, with 2 runners, Freddie belted a long shot to left center that went 400 feet and gave the Braves a 4-3 lead. The Marlins would get another run off Minor to make it 4-4, but BJ would come through with a sacrifice fly to retake the lead, followed by Gattis and CJ piling on with doubles to seal the game. The Braves went 5-14 with RISP, 4 doubles, a homer, 9 runs, and they only struck out 6 times. It's basically my perfect type of game. Minor wasn't sharp but he managed not to lose his cool completely after the disaster in the 2nd inning, and he went on to pitch 7 innings with 4 runs on 6 hits. Like I said, hardly award winning ball, but he got the support he needed to collect a win. Sometimes it's just about being slightly better than the other guy that day.
Next up, the Phillies come into town to see if they can't spoil our fun. I've heard from their front office that they still believe they are in the NL race. I think they are just a shade under completely delusional. Perhaps their common sense is buried under the unyielding weight of those huge unmovable contracts? We'll find out in the coming series.