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Braves lose at the hands of yet another bullpen collapse

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The bullpen is not in good shape.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves offense came into the night having produced a clunker to open the series followed by an outburst last night which left Atlanta fans wondering which version of the offense they would see tonight.

That question was answered quickly as the Braves got off to a rough start against Sandy Alcantara, who hasn’t exactly been the best Major League starter this season. Alcantara was getting weak contact from the Braves and was getting plenty of swings and misses from the bottom of the Atlanta order.

Thankfully, for Atlanta’s sake, Mike Soroka was also up to the challenge against the Marlins offense as well. Soroka found traffic on the basepads in the early innings, but settled in great while also being ultra efficient.

Both starters had the opposing team so stifled that the game went into the eighth inning scoreless. Then everything changed when the bullpens came into play.

Atlanta finally mounted a good charge in the top of the eighth inning with Alcantara nearing 100 pitches. Charlie Culberson singled and was advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ronald Acuna Jr. was then intentionally walked for obvious reasons leaving things up to Ozzie Albies. Albies then lined a ball right off of Alcantara’s calf muscle which bounced into the left field gap allowing Ozzie to reach second with an RBI double while forcing Acantara from the game.

With the Braves up 1-0 and runners on second and third the Marlins turned to Jarlin Garcia against Freddie Freeman. As crazy as that sounds, exactly what you think would happen in that situation happened as Freeman laced a single into center field that gave Mike Soroka a 3-0 lead late.

With the newly minted 3-0 lead the Braves turned to the bullpen to net just 6 outs. This started with Anthony Swarzak against the lower third of Miami’s order. After getting his first batter to fly out to right field, Curtis Granderson launched a solo homer to right center field. Then Jon Berti grounded a single up the middle and Swarzak’s night was over. Snitker then turned to Luke Jackson for two more outs in the eighth inning.

Jackson’s luck was not much better as he walked the first batter he faced. He was then able to get Starlin Castro to fly out to right field for the second out of the inning, but allowed the Marlins to get a run closer on an RBI single from Brian Anderson. With the Braves up 3-2 he struck out Garrett Cooper to preserve the lead heading into the final frame.

Atlanta looked to tack on some insurance runs in the top of the ninth and tack on runs they did. After Brian McCann and Ender Inciarte reached to start the inning, Johan Camargo launched a three run homer into the right field bullpen to take the lead to 6-2. Acuna and Albies then found their way on base again, but Freeman struck out to end the inning and turned things over to Mark Melancon.

Melancon would be tasked with facing the 5-6-7 batters to begin. Melancon struck out Harold Ramirez to begin the inning on a questionable strike three call, but then allowed three consecutive two strike singles to load the bases. Melancon then allowed the Marlins to inch closer on a Berti single to center field that cut the lead to 6-3.

Atlanta then turned to Shane Greene for the save and his luck was even worse as the first two batters he faced reached base. Miami then tied the game on an RBI double down the left field line by Castro. Mercifully Garrett Cooper rolled out to first base to end the inning, but not before Miami embarrassed the Braves “upgraded” bullpen.

The Braves could not put together anything in the top of the 10th inning and the bullpen immediately reared it’s ugly head again as Sean Newcomb gave up a leadoff single to start the inning. The runner then advanced to third on a throwing error by Newcomb and the Marlins hit the kill-shot with a Martin Prado sacrifice fly to end it.

Hopefully something better will happen tomorrow, but for now the pain is real. Stay tuned.