This is what you call a rough patch, or regression. Either way, the Braves and their pitching staff are feeling it right now after they got battered by the Marlins for the second night in a row, losing 9-3.
The game got off to a positive enough start; Jason Heyward continued to improve at the plate as he hit a double in the first inning, which contributed to a 2-4 game for the right fielder. Unfortunately, the full-strength lineup had a pretty bad day, as the 4 regulars who were on the bench last night (Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Chris Johnson, and Dan Uggla) combined for a grand total of 2 hits. Those 2 hits came from the Upton brothers; a double from B.J. and Justin's 8th home run of the season cut the lead down to 6 in the top of the 9th. Not exactly the best time to start chipping into a big lead.
The Marlins got started earlier than they did last night, as they decided to have their first big inning of the night in the 2nd. This is when, with 2 on and nobody out, Aaron Harang threw an 82-mph slider to Garrett Jones, who hit a groundball single to right to bring in Casey McGehee. The inning blew up for Harang in the very next at bat, which is when Marcell Ozuna hit a 2-run HR (which landed in the exact same spot that the Marlins' 2 dingers from last night landed) to put the Marlins up 4-0.
Harang ended up going 5 innings, and he got roughed up in every inning but the first. A Jarrod Saltalamacchia Sac Fly in the 3rd made it 5-0, then a home run from Christian Yelich (which didn't land in the right field bullpen) made it 7-0. Harang was finally pulled after he got 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th, but that was only after a Garrett Jones sacrifice fly made it 8-0. David Hale then made his first relief appearance of the season and promptly gave up a 2-run double to Adeiny Hechavarria to make it 9-0. Hechavarria was originally called out when he tried to stretch the hit into a double, but Marlins manager Mike Redmond challenged the call at 2nd. The call was overturned, and the Marlins got the crucial 9th run that they needed to seal the win.
Meanwhile, it was smooth sailing for Nathan Eovaldi, who went 7 innings with only 3 hits allowed, 5 strikeouts, and 1 run allowed. If Eovaldi had a smooth sail on the water, then Harang may as well have been sailing in the Gulf of Mexico during a category five hurricane with Great White sharks with lasers on their heads and electrically-charged box jellyfish assailing him from all angles with this outing.
The Braves, now 17-9, will now look to salvage this series tomorrow night with Ervin Santana taking the mound for them. The 13-14 Marlins will send out another formidable starter, as Henderson Alvarez will try to continue the good times for the Marlins and their starting pitching.