The Braves climbed out of an early hole to take a 5-3 win over the Marlins on Monday night. On a night where Julio Teheran didn’t have his best stuff - a recurring theme throughout the last two seasons - his bullpen picked him up on the way to victory.
Teheran’s general inconsistency was on display throughout his start, as he found himself in trouble several times. All things considered, he allowed 3 earned runs, walked 4, and struck out 4 over his 5 frames.
He struggled right out of the gate, surrendering a lead-off walk to Derek Dietrich and a two-run HR off the bat of Brian Anderson, putting the Marlins up 2-0 before he recorded his first out. He labored through a 31-pitch 1st, and things were looking somewhat bleak. As the game went on, Teheran’s results got a bit sunnier, but he never appeared to fully settle in.
The Marlins’ 2-0 lead stood until the bottom of the 2nd. A walk to Tyler Flowers was followed by a Johan Camargo double, then Flowers came home on an Ender Inciarte sac fly. Following an intentional walk to Dansby Swanson, Julio worked a great 8 pitch at bat against Chen that led to an RBI single to center. Just like that, tie ballgame.
In the 3rd, Freddie Freeman continued his career-long assault on Wei-Yen Chen’s ERA with a solo shot to right center, putting the Braves ahead 3-2. In a similar scene to what transpired the previous inning, a walk to Flowers was followed by a Johan Camargo double; this time, Flowers motored home to stake Atlanta to a 4-2 lead.
A JT Realmuto RBI double brought the Marlins back to within 1 in the 5th inning, but Ronald Acuña decided it would be more fun if the Braves were up by 2 again.
With that blast, Acuña officially reached the double-digit HR plateau, and the Braves were up 5-3.
Even with the stout offensive contributions by Camargo, Freeman, and Acuña, the bullpen stands out as the true All-Star of this game. As four different relievers were asked to cover four innings - Shane Carle, Jesse Biddle, Brad Brach, and AJ Minter - they allowed a total of 4 hits, struck out 2, and did not walk a batter. For a bullpen that has been maligned all season, this was a welcome development
Carle relieved Julio of his duties in the 6th, and he worked a scoreless inning. After he surrendered a lead-off double to old friend Cameron Maybin in the 7th, Jesse Biddle came in for Carle to face the top of the Marlins order. He kept the Marlins off the board during his single frame.
Brach, the bullpen’s newest addition, made his Braves debut in the 8th, and worked around a error from Camargo to show his skills as a ground ball machine. Of the five batters he faced, he induced five ground balls. Minter came on in the ninth, and worked a clean inning to secure his 6th save of the season.
While one game is a miniature sample size, any replication of this evening’s events from the relief corps could propel the Braves farther along during the stretch run.
Now, we wait for trades. The trade deadline is tomorrow, 7/31, at 4pm EST. Whether Alex Anthopoulos swings any significant trades remains to be seen, but regardless, the Braves and Marlins will be right back at it, with another 7:35pm EST first pitch tomorrow night. Hope to see you beautiful folks then.