Slouching Toward the All-Star Break: Marlins 4, Braves 3 (by Hotspur)

ESPN Box Score

Once again, IWOTM(arlins), but the problem with losing the second game of a home series against a team like Miami is that you then really have to go out there and nail down that third game so you don’t look like a bunch of chumps letting the worst team in the division hand you only your second home series loss of the season. (And I don’t care that they’ve played better lately. IWOTM[arlins], dammit.)

On this drippy, dreary Independence Day, there were no rockets (with red glare or otherwise); there were no bombs bursting on the good side of the fence (unless you count the one hit by little Miami Roe Marcell Ozuna to left in the top of the 4th off a less-than-stellar Julio Teheran, which, since it was hit by the Fish Eggs, I don’t). There was the promise of a big night, and then nothing. Braves fans were left to wonder which means more, the team’s marvelous first month or its decidedly average May and June.

Just so Grst doesn’t lose all hope for humanity, let’s honor the good first. And that first Braves inning certainly qualified. After Teheran struck out the side to open the game (hey, look! We didn’t give up runs in the first inning!), Andrelto n Simmons opened the bottom frame with a single, which the almost-resurgent-enough-to-believe Jason Heyward followed with a double to Giancarl o Stanton in right, pushing Simba to third. After a Justin Upton popout, Freddie Freeman singled to center plating both runners, and Brian McCann You Please Stick Around a Few More Years For Cheap (I know, dream on, Abernathy) did the same, plating Fab Five Freddie.

Hope you enjoyed that action, ‘cause it was all you were gonna get. The Roe crept back a run at a time over each of the next three innings, on Ozuna’s homer, a couple of singles and an Ed Lucas groundout, and a Logan Morrison double followed by an Ozuna single, respectively. The Braves, on the other hand, did squat. I mean, literally: they scattered three hits and a walk the rest of the way.

David Carpenter spelled young Julio, who really needs a nickname, in the 6th inning and, after giving up hits in a shaky beginning, settled down and held the line. He faltered in the 7th, but Luis Avilan relieved him in almost every sense of the word don’t get punchy). Jordan Walden pitched a hitless 8th, and you’ll notice I’m giving a lot more detail on innocuous relief innings because you gotta write about something when the bats go all Ambien on you.

In a move that warmed the hearts of soaked Braves fans (and was definitely the right call given the tie game at home), Fredi Gonzalez brought in Craig Kimbrel to keep the Fishies at bay (see what I did there?). The Cobra didn’t get any help from presbyopic home plate Mike DiMuro, but the calls is the calls and he wrapped “walks” to Lucas and LoMo around a strikeout to Stanton. Ozuna struck out swinging and Kimbrel had pinch-hitter Donovan Solano down to his last strike, but the rule book sez you get three, and Donavan caught the wind (see what I did there?) and lined to right, scoring Lucas.

That was all the Little Havana Tobiko would need. To be fair, the Braves did get robbed of what seemed like certain rally-starters by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (off the bat of Heyward leading off the 6th) and Not Our Mike Stanton (off that of Dan Uggla, bottom 9). I mean, seriously, two balls that looked tagged for big outfield action, but were snagged by two of the best defensive plays you’ll see this month. But in the end, of course, it didn’t matter.

Two other minor events of note: First, Joey Terdoslavich, newly called up to replace the DL-d Schafer (who is no doubt really wishing at this point that he hadn’t pitch hit on Tuesday), got his first Major League plate appearance out of the way in the 8th. The result was a swinging K on five pitches, but hopefully next time he’ll have calmed down and can show a tad more patience.

The other event was uni-related: All ML teams celebrated July 4th, as they have for the past several years, by wearing special caps for the purpose so that MLB can sell some merch. Much like last year’s edition, the caps this year were made of the BP cap material; home teams wore white and road teams wore gray, with each team’s logo rendered in star-spangled navy blue and featuring a bill of either navy or red, depending on the team’s preference. The Braves are lucky, as they sport what is probably already the most Independence Day-ready home uniform, and their white-with-blue-bills caps complementing the red, white and blue weekday home unis nicely (some may call it an “ice cream man” look, but to me it summons images of 19th century ballplayers). The Marlins, however, like their orange-and-black-clad compatriots the Orioles and Giants (not to mention the green-and-gold A’s and the purple-mountains-majestic Rockies), look terrible on these occasions; there’s just no fixing the clash. Sad. As both a proud American and an avocational follower of baseball graphic design, I wish they could find a more sartorially pleasing way to exploit Our Nation’s Birthday (Or Thereabouts) for commercial gain. They probably won’t, but a boy can dream.

Bygones. Meet me in Philadelphia tomorrow night. (Best cheesesteaks are at D’Allesandro’s, BTW, and don’t let anybody tell you different.)

88 thoughts on “Slouching Toward the All-Star Break: Marlins 4, Braves 3 (by Hotspur)”

  1. to me it summons images of 19th century ballplayers

    Yes! That’s what I was noticing about the uniforms but couldn’t quite put my finger on. Nice observation.

    And fear not, my simultaneous faith and lack thereof in humanity is secure. Good recap.

  2. Apparently we’re switching Hudson and Maholm – Maholm starting tonight and Huddy going tomorrow, to give him an extra day of rest, according to DOB.

  3. Peter Gammons tweeted that Hudson has told some “former teammates” he thinks he could be traded. Really? Would he accept it?

  4. a recap worthy of your arrival in Philly…

    we have no all stars – strange…

    it’s odd that for this all star game
    there really isn’t one to name
    and yet we still fly high
    which makes us wonder why
    these contracts, are they slaves to fame?

  5. This doesn’t help his trade value.

    @mlbbowman: Hudson says his neck has been bothering him for about six weeks. He says it’s not a big deal.

    I don’t think we would get enough value trading him. Plus, he’s about the only guy with post season experience. Beachy, Minor, Medlen, Maholm, Teheran would be a pretty inexperienced playoff rotation.

  6. @mlbbowman: W/o being asked, Hudson said there’s no basis to @pgammo’s recent tweet that said Hudson has told former teammates he thinks he’ll be traded

    @mlbbowman: Hudson only brought it up because he had been caught off guard when some current teammates asked him about it a few minutes ago

  7. Hudson is a 10/5 guy. Even if the Braves wanted to I highly doubt he’d accept.

  8. 12 beers in this offseason Huddy tells Chipper “hell, they might even trade me!” and it’s official that Hudson “told former teammates he might be traded.”

  9. Probably not possible, but I’d love to add Cliff Lee to this rotation. Our stud lefty looks a little whiny these days.

  10. Greetings from Chicago…

    Let Lee go AL & keep the Dark Lord Utley in Philly.

    Here’s to magic-quick healing powers for Evan Gattis.

    And why would we trade Hudson?

  11. Obvious balls called strikes and a throw sailing into left field. Cliff Lee doesn’t need this kind of help.

  12. Every person on this team sucks at everything that happens on a baseball field.

  13. Great, it’s a Braves fan that looks like a total buffoon and should be ejected from the park. JUST WATCH THE DAMN GAME, IDIOT.

    Even worse — now he’s texting and calling his buddies. Proud of making an ass of himself. One-year ban from any baseball park at any level, if I made the rules.

  14. I blame the people designing these stadiums. Fans should not be able to reach over the outfield fence. Ever.

    What’s stupid is that if they hadn’t called homerun on the field they wouldn’t have changed it on review either. Still too much weight given to the first dumb call.

  15. I’d be tempted to just pull my team off the field. We won’t participate in league games officiated in such a manner. Make the league address that.

  16. I missed the first three runs, but when I turned on the TV I sure didn’t miss that last one.

  17. For those of us not able to enjoy the game live, would you mind sharing what the heck is going on?

  18. Well, Angel Hernandez — as always! — has a mighty suspect strike zone. In particular, he’s calling a bunch of extremely high strikes, which sort of gives Cliff Lee a supremely unfair advantage. Gerald Laird got very pissed off at being rung up, and Fredi came out and halfheartedly tried to defend him, and then Hernandez finally tossed Laird, and then we went to commercial, and when the game came back we found out that Hernandez had tossed Fredi, too.

    Also, Maholm sucks tonight.

  19. I like Maholm. He’s a pro. (He’s awful tonight, but still.) Too bad this will be his last year in Atlanta.

  20. Between innings, apparently, Angel Hernandez went three-quarters of the way down the first-base line to talk to Freddie Freeman, who had argued about a called third strike in the previous half-inning. Impossible to know what he wanted to talk about, or just how friendly he was being. But it seems wildly inappropriate for the home plate umpire to walk out to first base to talk to a player who had taken exception to his strike zone.

  21. Five pitch inning for Lee. Carlos Tosca needs to take his club aside and give them a little talk.

  22. I’m not sure I can watch BJ Upton for 6 seasons. Least favorite player ever.

  23. It’s just a five-year deal, but I’m sure it’s gonna feel like six.

    DAN!!!!!!!!

    We’ve got a ballgame suddenly.

  24. I saw Beachy in the dugout. So he’s up now with the team? Rehab over? Is he penciled in to start?

  25. Another mass resignation by umpires that MLB honored would be out-freaking-standing.

  26. Beachy is about to go on rehab assignment. I guess he’s just hanging with the team.

  27. I will not watch a game, any game, officiated by Angel Hernandez! His incompetence amazes me and I'm tired of MLB doing squat about it! Nite— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) July 5, 2013

  28. This is the second game this year where the umps have blown a HR call even after using replay – both went against us. Hopefully we can rally in the 9th and make it all better.

  29. It is truly amazing that the likes of Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor continue to be employed by MLB.

  30. Great play by Mayberry. Bah!

    COME ON, TERDO!!!

    Woo hoo! First major league hit! What a special moment. :)

  31. Hooray for Joey! Now we have to hope Andrelton does something unSimmonslike.

  32. Lead will probably be 5 unless the Padres stage a miracle comeback. Nothing more to say right now except that we don’t look like that good of a team.

  33. What a shocking twist ending! He never pops out! (Oh wait, yes he does. All the damn time. Fredi, you might as well bat BJ leadoff- Simmons has a .261 OBP batting leadoff compared to BJ’s overall OBP of .272.)

  34. Simba should be playing every day and batting eighth every day. Fredi, this isn’t that hard. Anyone but B.J. is a better option at leadoff. (And he has a better OBP, so perhaps he is, too.)

  35. Well, Andrelton certainly shouldn’t be leading off. He should be hitting 8th. If the rest of the other hitters were more consistent, his bad bat wouldn’t be so noticeable.

  36. At this point, my reaction to seeing Simba atop the daily lineup is similar to that of Billy Beane in the film adaptation of “Moneyball” upon being informed each day that Carlos Pena was at first base.

  37. @80 Braves aren’t going to lose the division lead because the Nats are freaking awful. They played above their heads last year.

    By the way, BJ is back to sucking again.

  38. I really think the homers Andrelton hit in the WBC hurt his swing and approach. He’s trying to pull and lift everything.

  39. @78 Ignoramus. How is it “whining” to recognize how ridiculously illogical it is to snark about a team not being elite, or speculate when they’ll blow a division lead, or otherwise conclude it sucks based on one, two or three games? I seriously wonder how people who think such nonsense can even function as human beings in every day life. Also, go fuck yourself.

  40. Bethany:

    That freaking awful team just got a game closer tonight. The Nats may be bad, but HotSpur articulated the many holes on this team in the previous thread. Little things like a ball getting away after a play at the plate are making the difference. Big things like Kimbrel giving up the lead late in the game are also happening. The Braves are too inconsistent and have too many weaknesses (the Brothers Upton being the two biggest). I think it will take about five weeks to lose the lead, as the Nats will pick up another game a week.

  41. @85 They are good enough to win the division. Are they going to make a playoff run? I don’t know, but they are a stronger team than the Nats despite all those problems. The Braves have been playing .500 ball for 2 months and the Nats have done nothing but do the same.

  42. Kruss @ 55. Very true, after 3 months BJ has been abhorrent,and to think of 5 plus years at huge money is very disconcerting, but he does still have some room til he reaches Ken (worst ever Brave) Oberkfell territory.

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