Basically, we are familiar with the Hippocratic oath. It starts, “First, do no harm.” I submit the first line of “The Athaletic Oath.” First, don’t suck.” It is amazing how effective this is at not only preventing an abysmal performance, but also in enhancing an otherwise good performance and turning it into a great performance. The Atlanta Braves have now played 4 series against teams expected to be good (one of which is the Cardinals who probably aren’t good) and this is the 4th series against teams expected to be bad. When you “don’t suck,” you can beat the bad teams. However, to this point we are a little under water on the Padres and way under water on the Astros. Yet, this team sits in first place, by 3 games, tied with the second most wins in MLB. So, “first, don’t suck.”

I was a little worried that we were going to end up with an announcement soon that A. J. Minter had an injury. Well, maybe he just needed to get his “suck” out of the way.

Thanks to timo and tfloyd who were in the “house that makes Liberty money” last night. That perceptible Braves Journal aura no doubt helped.

When facing the Marlins, your biggest concern is the game in a series started by the one, the only, Sandy Alcantara. In opposition, the Braves had the “statistically challenged” Bryse Elder, After 2 straight wins you had to feel like this is the one that could go south quickly. As Billy Clyde Puckett reported in “Life Its Own Self,” it would be “going Dixie.”

Inning 1. Elder gets 3 outs, but Alcantara gets 3 outs and 2 were strikeouts. Trying to hang. Inning 2 Marlins get to 2 outs, then home run, double, ground out. Elder’s propensity to give up hard contact with low home run damage was challenged. But part of “don’t suck” is not walking people. This game doesn’t look the same if a runner is on at each home run (did I spoil this for you? Yes, the Marlins were home prone because Elder was homer prone,). No run answers by the Braves.

Marlins fans (I think there are a few) were saying “we want another one, just like the other one.” Well, ground ball out, home run by “his name is” Jazz Chishom, Jr., ground out, ground out. Braves get an Acuna walk, but nothing else. The dreaded “Hibernation Mode” seemed to be in play.

4th inning; another one substantially like the other two. Ground out. home run by Avisail Garcia, ground out, strike out. Again, “don’t suck” comes into play. It is 3 to 0 Marlins. And Alcantara had 3 batted balls, but 3 outs.

5th inning was a 1, 2, 3 for Elder. A Marcell Ozuna hit was the only offense. If the Braves “don’t suck” at DH (actually it should be DNH as in “designated non hitter”), then maybe they have at least one more gear.

In the 6th, the Marlins almost put it away. Now the wobble by Elder the weeble became a fall down. Single, walk, fly out. Hmm. Then Brian Snitker decided to make a pitching change to Michael Tonkin (“Gulf”). He gets a srrike out (Yay!). He gives up a walk (Boo!). He gets a fly out (Yay!). Gulf didn’t cause an incident. He really didn’t suck.

Well, Ronald Acuna decided to do what he does to the Marlins. Mr. Alcantara has not pitched to his standards this year so far, but until Ronald launched on in the bottom of the sixth, it had not been so good. Then, with one out, Austin Riley doubled. Then with 2 outs, Eddie Rosario (hunh?) walked. Then Ozzie Albies walked. Now, the Marlins made a pitching change. They brought in their boxcar (Huascar Brazoban). So Vaughn Grissom came to the plate with 2 outs and the bases loaded. And, the statistically challenged hitter, continued his practice of hitting. The second run scored from 3rd, but Rosario was out at the plate. As the thread indicated last night, would you really hold Rosario at third with Marcell Ozuna lurking? But, the Hibernation was over. Time to get fat on eating fish.

Gulf got through the 7th with only a walk as a blemish. In the bottom half, Ozuna made contact (for an infield pop up that WOULDN’T HAVE SCORED ROSARIO). Then, 2 ground outs. On to 8. Gulf gets 3 more outs. Can the Braves make a move?

The bottom of the 8th inning was an exposition of relentless offense. This team has that. So, Olson homers, Riley grounds out, and Murphy singles. Snit send in that impeccable paragon of baseball Nick Solak to run for Murphy. Rosario follows with a triple, and we are tied. Dylan Floro intentionally walks Ozzie Albies (to get to Vaughn Grissom?). Well Grissom continued that hitting thing with a single that produced a lead and put Ozzie at 3rd. So, then Ozuna gets the bat on the ball and hits it on the ground which has a higher percentage of turning out well than when you pop it up on the infield. Ozuna is working on “not sucking’ by going from “extremely sucky” to “pretty damn sucky.” Well, Floro tried to take the out at first and throws it away. When the dust clears it is 6 to 4 with runners second and third. Now the Marlins turn to Andrew Nardi who is never tardy. He strikes out Hilliard. Then intentionally walks Acuna (a left handed Marlin pitching to Acuna is just not a good idea). Then, he strikes out Olson.

A. J. Minter returned to form: strike out, fly out, strike out.

Meanwhile, the Mets haven’t worked on “First, don’t suck.” They have lost 2 straight to the gNats. Get away day game today, then, on to Queens to try to help the Mets keep on sucking.