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Braves Fall Victim To Slight Of Hand As Marlins Win

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The Braves had a few golden opportunities but failed to capitalize on them, and have now been shut out 13 times this season.

Eliot J. Schechter

Once again, the Braves have been shut out, and every time it happens this late in the season, it hurts even more. It gets worse when you see that the Braves could not figure out a way to score on Brad Hand, who had his best outing since late July, when he mystified the Astros. Let that marinate for a second: The only two teams who Brad Hand has managed to completely blank this season are the Astros (a team who is basically using this season as training camp for the future), and the Braves who are in the midst of a fight for a Postseason spot.

We really should've known that it was going to be one of "those" days when the first 4 innings of this game came and went with barely any hits, much less any runs. That was the case for both teams, as Julio Teheran also got into a groove early in this game. However, the groove quickly turned into an extremely bumpy road, as Julio ran into big trouble in the 5th.

It all started so innocuously as well, as Teheran got the first 2 batters out in that 5th inning. Unfortunately, Garrett Jones hit a double to break a streak of 14 Marlins batters retired by Teheran (which included Teheran adding another victim to his Pickoff Graveyard). The 15th out of the game ended up being extremely hard for Atlanta to get, and it started with a Jarrod Saltalamacchia single to left that gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead. After Adeiny Hechavarria added a single, Teheran finally got out of the 5th inning by getting Brad Hand to fly out.

The 6th inning was where the game really turned. Once again, things started well enough for the Braves in this frame as well, as Jason Heyward got on with a leadoff single and Phil Gosselin hit a double that put 2 runners in scoring position with nobody out, and the meat of the order coming up to bat. With Brad hand pitching, surely this couldn't result in Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, and Evan Gattis recording 3 consecutive outs? Well, it did. Freeman grounded out to the pitcher, Justin struck out, and Gattis popped out as the Braves completely squandered a golden chance.

In the bottom of that same inning, the Marlins did the opposite of what the Braves did, in that they did not squander their chances. Julio Teheran's struggles from the 5th inning continued into the 6th as the the Marlins wasted no time getting Teheran into trouble thanks to a leadoff single from Christian Yelich. After he advanced to scoring position thanks to a stolen base, everyone's favorite Marlin brought him in with a single. I'm talking about our good friend Donovan Solano, who gave the Braves one final parting gift in the final Braves-Marlins game of the season.

2 batters later, Solano was brought home thanks to a double from Marcell Ozuna, and that ended the game for Julio Teheran. Luis Avilan was then brought in to intentionally walk the first batter he faced (haha), and the second batter he saw was Salty, and Salty hit a sac fly to bring in Casey McGehee from 3rd base to make it 4-0.

That was it as far as anything important was concerned. The Marlins probably figured that Friday night's embarrassment was enough for Atlanta, so they kept it at 4-0. Meanwhile, the Braves offense did little-to-nothing today, and Brad Hand left the game after the 6th inning as a conquering hero. Yep. "Brad Hand: Conquering Hero" is not something I expected to type out in the year 2014 but here we are.

So, how did this loss affect the Braves' playoff hopes? At 74-69, Atlanta is once again on the outside looking in. Combine that with the Brewers continuing to flop about in the NL Central, and that has opened the door for a new holder of the 2nd Wild Card spot: The Pittsburgh Pirates, who are currently throttling the Cubs. However, before the Braves can worry about what other teams are doing, they have to get their house in order, and quickly. Getting shut out by the Marlins when they started Brad Hand is no way to go about getting your house in order.

Source: FanGraphs