Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Monday, July 8th – Win (7-1)
The Braves won their series opener with the Marlins on a night in which 24 consecutive Braves hitters got out but the team scored 7 runs. This is a feat I do not expect to see repeated and the mix of frustration and explosiveness was in some ways emblematic of the Braves offense all season long. Justin Upton had key at bats when his sac fly tied the game in the 6th and his two run double put the Braves ahead for good in the 14th. The Braves 14 inning victory was the most innings they had played since the famous Jerry Meals aided 19 inning victory versus Pittsburgh. Mike Minor pitched 6 1/3 innings of one run ball that were long forgotten by the time the contest was decided. Jason Heyward tripled and scored the Braves first run in the sixth. His triple was the last hit before the Braves had 24 straight batters retired before the fireworks in the 14th. Fredi Gonzalez used his closer in a tie game on the road because Fredi has the ability to inexplicably do the right thing when you least expect it.
Tuesday, July 9th – Win (6-4)
The Braves won their second game in a row against The Marlins on the backs of the Upton brothers and Julio Teheran. Teheran pitched 7 1/3 strong innings allowing four runs but only three of them earned. Justin Upton looked like the hitter Braves fans remembered from April hitting two doubles and a trademark Justin Upton monster home run. The only thing missing was Justin’s typical bat toss and stare down as the ball traveled well over 400 feet. Hopefully that returns with his next monster. BJ Upton had key hits and scored the go ahead run after Pedro Alvarez threw the ball into right field after being slow to field Teheran’s sacrifice bunt. Teheran’s outing was a godsend after the Braves had to use all but one of their relief pitchers the night before. The Braves won the series and went into Wednesday’s matinee game looking for the sweep.
Wednesday, July 10th – Loss (6-2)
Things started off very poorly for Paul Maholm when after three batters he was already down 2-0. The Marlins would ultimately bat around in the first and put the Braves in an early 4-0 deficit. The Braves had a chance to cut into the lead in the second but poor baserunning decisions turned a possible three run inning into a one run inning, as the Braves cut the lead to 4-1. Maholm would settle in after his disastrous first and aside from a three run triple to Marlins pitcher Jacob Turner remained relatively effective. The damage was done though and the Braves would ultimately fall 6-2 after allowing two more runs in the eighth. Maholm has overall been an elite pitcher at home but a disaster in his road starts.
Any loss to the Marlins feels like a disaster but the Braves did win the series which is all you can ever really ask of a team. Atlanta went 3-3 on the road trip which is perfectly fine if they continue to win 2/3 at home. Winning 2/3 at home and going .500 on the road is a very effective strategy for winning the NL East. The Braves play four at home against The Reds before the All-Star break.