Win, win, win. It gets boring after awhile.
Shelby Miller made his Braves debut and pitched 5 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. His Marlins counterpart, Tom Koehler, matched him pitch for pitch and held the Braves to 3 hits and 3 walks over the first 6 innings. He, too, recorded 4 strikeouts.
Then the 7th inning happened. AJ Pierzynski did not get the memo that bunts, speed, and manufacturing runs is the BravesWayTM, and he killed a rally with no outs in the 7th inning with a dreaded long ball. He was hit in the back in his next at-bat, but he just glared at the pitcher and walked to 1st. I guess when you’re about the sweep a team in the opening series in their ballpark, you can afford to settle for a simple glare, even if you are AJ Pierzynski.
I hope someone notified the authorities, because Giancarlo Stanton absolutely ROBBED Freddie Freeman of a double in the 4th inning and doubled Nick Markakis, who had walked, off of 1st. Markakis would probably have come around and scored, so Stanton may have also robbed Shelby Miller of the win. In the bottom of the inning, Jace Peterson paid the Marlins back with some great defense, getting the third out of the inning with a nifty diving play. Actually, if you’re a fan of great defense, this game was made for you. Christian Yelich robbed Jace Peterson in the 3rd inning, and Marcell Ozuna got the Marlins out of the 9th inning by snagging a sinking liner that replay confirmed was caught.
Even though I don’t know who any of these pitchers in the bullpen are, I have sure enjoyed watching them dominate the hapless Fish. Brandon Cunniff pitched 1.2 perfect innings to pick up his first career win, Luis Avilan (who would have thought he’d be the lone bullpen holdover?) got an out and has looked pretty good in his first two appearances, and Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli were dominant enough in the final two innings that you can’t help but wonder if we could have been treated to O’Ventbrel 2.0 this season had things worked out a little differently (victory must go to my head; four straight wins and I might have the Braves winning the World Series this year).
Grilli threw 14 pitches—13 strikes—in a perfect 9th to pick up his second save of the season. That was not a sentence I was expecting to type after the third game of the season. The Braves held the Marlins to 3 total runs in a three game sweep. That is also not a sentence I was expecting to type…probably ever this season.
Game oddities of note:
—Shelby Miller drew a four-pitch walk in his first plate appearance, because why would you pitch to him?
—Nick Markakis did not get an RBI tonight.
—Jeff Francoeur hit a home run this year before any Braves player did. Now we see the real reason the Braves traded him.
The Braves head back to Atlanta for their home opener, when they take on the Mets on Friday at 7:35. That means we get two whole days to savor this sweep. It is so much nicer to be a Braves fan now than it was three days ago…