This was the kind of series that drives your blood pressure up. Moments where you want to yell at the TV in frustration and then scream in excitement. The Marlins (17-29) may be one of the worst teams in the league but they always seem to play Atlanta harder than other teams. Fortunately for the Braves, they came out on top in very exciting fashion.
Game 1 was one to forget as Dan Straily (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) and the Marlins shut out the Braves. Matt Wisler made a spot start for Atlanta after Mike Soroka was placed on the 10-day DL with a shoulder strain. Wisler looked great through 5 1/3 innings but couldn’t seem to find any run support. He allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 5 strike outs. The Braves offense couldn’t seem to get anything going as they only notched 4 hits the entire game. Nick Markakis and Johan Camargo were the only ones able to get any hits (3 of those hits belonged to Markakis). Atlanta would go on to lose this game 2-0.
Game 2 featured a match up between Sean Newcomb and José Urena. Both starters had quality starts for their individual teams. Newcomb finished his day allowing only 1 earned run on 4 hits across 6 innings with 2 walks and 4 strike outs. That 1 run scoring off of a ground out in the 2nd inning. Sean was sharp the entire game and was able to pitch himself out of some tough spots.
The Atlanta offense struggled to get anything going in the first few innings of the game. However, in the fifth inning they scored 4 runs against Urena (6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) who now finds himself sporting a 0-7 record as a starter for Miami. The Atlanta offense would show off their power in the 7th and 8th innings. Kurt Suzuki launched a lead off home run to left field to start the 7th for the Braves. Inciarte would hit a single and be driven in thanks to a double from Johan Camargo. After Ronald Acuña Jr. walked to start the 8th inning, Freddie Freeman absolutely crushed a 2-run home run to the Chop House to lead the Braves to an 8-1 finish against the fish.
Game 3 was one for the ages as fans were treated to the Braves biggest comeback of the season. Wei Yin Chen looked as if he was going to hold the Braves offense in the series finale. Chen only allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits across 5 1/3 innings while striking out 5 batters. Julio Teheran (5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) started off very strong for the Braves and looked like he had found his stride. Unfortunately, the 4th inning unraveled for Julio as the Marlins scored 6 runs to blow the game open.
The fourth inning saw Justin Bour hit a triple after Ender Inciarte collided with the outfield wall and the ball trickled away from him. Bour would then score following a balk by Julio Teheran as he dropped the ball while trying to step off of the mound. The gut punch came after Lewis Brinson crushed his first career grand slam to give the Marlins a 6-0 lead. Atlanta scored their first two runs in the 6th inning thanks to RBI singles from Freeman and Markakis. After a 2-run home runs from Rojas in the seventh inning, it looked like the Braves were going to drop game 3 as the lead increased to 8-2.
Atlanta chipped away at the lead in the 7th thanks to Ronald Acuña Jr. driving in 2 runs on a single to left field. Rojas would homer once again in the 9th inning to give the Marlins a 9-4 lead. Dansby Swanson led off what would be the biggest inning of the year with a strike out and things looked dim for Atlanta. However, Ryan Flaherty pinch hit for Charlie Culberson and drew a walk. Albies would follow Flaherty with a single to right field and Ronald Acuna Jr. drove in Flaherty on a sacrifice fly to right-center field. The Braves cut the lead to 9-5. With 2 outs in the inning, Freddie Freeman would reach first base on an infield single with Albies scoring thanks to a throwing error by Miguel Rojas. The clutch hitting Nick Markakis drove in Freeman on yet another single to right field. The deficit was now cut down to 9-7 with 2 outs in the inning.
Tyler Flowers would draw a walk to give Atlanta runners on 1st and 2nd base with Kurt Suzuki coming to the plate. Suzuki wasted no time as he laced a RBI single to left field to put the Braves within a run. Johan Camargo would draw a walk to bring Dansby Swanson back up to the plate for a chance at redemption. Swanson absolutely seized the opportunity as he smacked a line drive 2-run single to left field to score Flowers and Suzuki and give the Braves a 10-9 win over Miami.
This 6 run comeback came exactly 8 years after Brooks Conrad launched a walk off grand slam for the Braves back in 2010 to beat the Reds 10-9. This win should show everyone the resiliency that this Braves team has. They are drawing many comparisons to the 91′ Atlanta Braves team that shocked the league.
The Braves gave themselves tons of momentum heading into Philadelphia and remain first in the NL East at 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies. They will face Philadelphia in a 3 game set (5/21-5/23) before heading out to Boston (5/25-5/27) to take on the Red Sox for 3 games as well. This will be a road trip that will test the Braves in many ways. They’ll take on a Phillies team that has played them extremely well all season and then face the only offense better than their own in the Red Sox. I believe that this team has the grit to compete with the big boys as they’ve proven that they simply have no quit in them.
Here are your probable starters for each series:
Braves at Phillies
Game 1: Mike Foltynewicz vs Nick Pivetta
Game 2: Brandon McCarthy vs Vince Velasquez
Game 3: Luiz Gohara vs Jake Arrieta
Braves at Red Sox
Game 1: Sean Newcomb vs Rick Porcello
Game 2: Julio Teheran vs Eduardo Rodriguez
Game 3: Mike Foltynewicz vs Chris Sale
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