After the Braves basically booted and bumbled their way to a 4-game losing streak at the hands of the currently-aflame Boston Red Sox (who are 3 wins away from completely wiping out that 10-game losing streak with a 10-game winning streak and are now baseball's hottest team. Go figure.), they made up for it by going down and fixing their issues in Marlins Park in a great manner. Anytime you can get a sweep on the road is nice. Anytime you can do it and directly hurt one of your divisional rivals is even better, and Atlanta did exactly that this past weekend.
Game 1 on Friday was basically the Julio Teheran Show, once again. The ace of the Braves staff lived up to the billing with 7 1/3 innings of mostly excellent pitching. His only glaring mistake came in the 1st inning, which is when Giancarlo Stanton hit one deep to center that left Marlins Park and landed somewhere in Tony Montana's lavish mansion. Other than that, Teheran pitched extremely well on Friday night and hit well at the plate as well, helping his case with 2 hits, the second one being the one which sparked the rally that gave the Braves the lead and the victory.
The second game of the series on Saturday evening had the potential to be a high-scoring affair considering the two starting pitchers (A suddenly-struggling Ervin Santana and an always-struggling Jacob Turner) on the mound that day. Indeed, both teams scored over five runs that day. Fortunately for the vast majority of people who read the posts on this website, the Braves were the team who scored more, picking up 9 runs over the 9 innings. It wasn't without drama, though, as the Marlins continuously tried to scratch and claw their way out of the early hole that the Braves dropped them in. They nearly climbed out of that hole in the 8th inning, which is when they got to within a run and had both the tying and potential go-ahead runs on the basepaths. That was when Shae Simmons made his Major League debut and marked the auspicious occasion with a 3-pitch strikeout to hold the lead. Craig Kimbrel picked up the save that evening, his 154th of his career, and also the number that set him alongside John Smoltz for the franchise's all-time mark for career saves.
The final game saw the Braves face the guy who is currently at the top of Miami's rotation with the absence of the mercurial Jose Fernandez. That man was Nathan Eovaldi, and for the third time all season, he served as stiff opposition for the Braves bats, going 8 innings strong, only giving up 2 runs in the process. Meanwhile, Aaron Harang was able to stay near the top of the FIP leaderboards with his performance (he's no longer #1 (which was insane), but he's #9 with a 2.58 FIP (which is still insane)), and although he ran into plenty of trouble against the Marlins, he was still able to mitigate the damage and gave the Braves a chance to win it late. The Braves did exactly that, as Evan Gattis homered off of Steve Cishek to give the Braves a 2-run victory that also included Shae Simmons' first career big league save. Most importantly, Gattis hit whatever they're calling the fish thing in center field. I called it the Fishstravaganza. It wasn't popular. I'm still going to try to make it happen.
Personal digression aside, this was a lovely series for the Braves. Morale has to be pretty high in the clubhouse after they not only ended a 4-game losing streak going into this series, but they also ended a 3-game losing streak in Miami and completely reversed that into a 3-game winning streak, which is what we're used to seeing when it comes to the Braves and Marlins in Miami.
Now the Braves will shift their focus to the 28-28 Seattle Mariners for 2 games starting tomorrow. They'll be going into that series with a 3-game lead in the division, and 3.5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals. Today's off-day, however, is probably going to be used as a day to celebrate the small victory of a regular season series sweep, one of multiple that the Braves currently have under their belt in 2014.