Anytime your three-hole hitter goes 0-for-5 in a game there is a good chance that you wont be winning the game. That's exactly what happened to Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night who lost 5-4 to the Miami Marlins. It was the first time since 2006 that they have been swept in Miami. Despite realizing the starting rotation wouldn't keep up its astronomical numbers they still were roughed around, as they gave up a combined 19 earned runs in 15.2 innings pitched. The defending NL East champs now sit at 17-10 and are a game and a half up on the Nationals for first place.
The Braves had been cruising along and had won eight of their first nine series before taking a trip that they wish they never had to Miami. The Marlins basically owned them in their still relatively new ballpark, as they outscored them 23-7 in the series. Before the trip down south the most amount of runs that Atlanta had given up in a series was 13 to the Mets who are the only other team to take a series win against them. While the Marlins weren't tipping pitches it turns out they just have hot bats at home and have the second best average in home games this season in all of baseball.
SB Nation minor league expert John Sickel selected Lucas Sims (77), David Hale (137), and Tommy La Stella (142) in his Top 150 baseball prospects list. Of course Hale has been in the MLB rotation this year, but the list is comprised of players who haven't used up their rookie eligibility. Sims, who is just 20-years old, is the top prospect in the Braves system by Baseball America and is off to a 1-3 record with a 4.78 ERA in Lynchburg (High A ball) despite posting a 1.06 WHIP. He will be a big name in years to come. La Stella is on pace to begin his major league career very soon and could possibly be the starting second baseman next year in Atlanta. In his first full season in AAA he is batting .310 and has amazing self discipline at the plate. In his career he has drawn 120 walks and struck out 94 times in 933 at-bats. These young cats have bright futures ahead of themselves in the Braves uniform.
Fredi Gonzalez made the right and obvious decision to challenge and overturn the out call on a Jason Heyward infield hit and it paid off in great dividends as B.J. Upton followed with a three-run home run to give the Braves their first lead over the Marlins in the series for the time being. So far the skipper has yet to lose a challenge this year and his two-hole hitter is currently staying above the Mendoza line.
The much anticipated debut of Mike Minor is finally here as the 26-year old southpaw will make his season debut against the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field tonight with first pitch set for 7:35 p.m. ET. He feels good and healthy and will look to take his game to the next level this season after putting together the best season of his career in his past campaign. He has a little pressure taken off his shoulders as he joins the team that still has the best ERA in all of baseball at 2.69.
FoxSports.com first broke the news that the Braves are close to a three-year extension with third baseman Chris Johnson who went a perfect 3-for-3 last night at the plate and rose his average on the season to .255. He should continue to see his average climb as he works into a groove at the dish. He placed second in the NL batting title race last season with a .321 mark. The only problem is that he hardly ever draws walks.