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.)