To quote the CPA from yesterday, "Look for [Julio] to try and strikeout a lot of guys early which may mean the pitch count gets up there. Also look for Freddie to be a difference maker in this one."
Julio struck out 6 in his 6.2 innings, so he didn't get after guys like it expected, and in fact he gave up the lead in the first inning with 3 runs. However, Freddie Freeman absolutely was a difference maker in that game. Freddie went 2/4 with 2 runs and a walk. The other difference makers were Gattis, McCann, and CJ, who combined for 5 hits and 4 RBIs. The RISP hitting was basically terrible as the Braves left chance after chance on the basepaths, going 3-16. However, even though they stranded 10 guys, the pitching picked up the slack after Julio's first inning explosion, and they shut out the Marlins from that point onward.
The biggest moment in the game came in the 7th inning when the bases were loaded with 2 outs, and Stanton was due up at the plate. Fredi G made a pitching change to bring in Ayala, and he fanned Stanton on three pitches to escape the jam. That was the closest the Marlins came to winning the game, but the Braves were not to be denied. Also, this was another case of the Braves getting all their runs in early spurts, and then completely shutting down for the duration. The Braves scored 2 in the first, 2 in the third to take the lead, and then nobody on either side crossed the plate for the rest of the game. This gave the announcers plenty of time to question how the Marlins come up with their inflated attendance numbers.
Justin had to leave the game in the fourth with a knee bruise, but it's nothing serious. He should probably get the day off today and then come back in for the fourth game of the series. Also in the ancillary box score, Gattis had another error. He's still a liability in left field, but he's been on a tear since he's come back from the AAA hiatus. In fact, he's hitting .261 over the last week with 2 homers on 6 RBIs. That's on a week where the Braves as a team have been struggling to score runs, so El Oso Blanco is the big RBI fish right now.
The CPA was correct in predicting a 1 run Braves win last night, so it's up to 72-50 now. What about the tough pitching matchup between Minor and Fernandez tonight?
CPA Prediction Game 3: Marlins 4 - Braves 1
Minor hasn't been sharp lately, and seems to always go one inning too long before he gets into trouble. The Braves are still really streaky at the plate, and you have to believe in one of these games they simply aren't going to score many. Against a guy like Fernandez, who is being shut down after this game, the CPA believes he's going to pitch like there is no tomorrow. Because there is no tomorrow for him.