In the midst of grief, a sliver of hope. Somehow, our Atlanta Braves just wrapped up a series in which we took two of three from the division-leading Mets. While the first game dealt Shelby Miller his 16th loss of the season, the next two games saw our offense awakening to score 12 total runs, the most they’ve scored in a two game stretch since August 8th. Who did that last stretch of offense come against? None other than the Miami Marlins.
Tonight the Braves head to Miami for the next-to-last series in their final tour of the NL East. We come into this series with a 10-6 record against the Marlins (6-0 in Miami), having scored 66 runs and allowed 60 in those 16 games. This presents us with an interesting possibility of finishing out the season with an especially nice 69 runs scored and allowed against our rivals. Not only is that nice outcome possible, looking at the pitching match ups for these three games makes it look downright probable.
The first game will see baby-faced Ryan Weber face off against one of my favorite pitchers in the game, Jose Fernandez. Fernandez has been his typical badass self since returning from the DL this season, sporting a 2.18 ERA and 1.93 FIP in 53.2 innings across nine starts. He gave up two runs in five innings when he faced us last in August, but I think that was just dumb luck more than anything else. Expect a complete game shutout for this game, with the Marlins putting up six on Weber. That would bring us to 66 scored and 66 allowed.
Game two has Teheran facing off against Justin Nicolino. Nicolino has only two more strikeouts than walks this season, so expect us to crush him. And by crush him I mean put up three runs then do nothing against their bullpen. Teheran will keep his groove going from his last start, going another 8.1 innings of one run ball. Vizcaino will come in for the last two outs to close it. We’ll now be at 69 runs scored and 67 allowed heading into the third and final game.
The final game is Shelby Miller facing Tom Koehler. Shelby is going to be in early season form and go the full nine innings, striking out eight and only walking one, while allowing no more than two runs. It’ll be a masterful performance! However, it will also be a typical Shelby Miller performance. He’ll do great, but our bats will let him down against Koehler, who will inexplicably pitch his first complete game shutout of the year. 16 games against the Marlins. Eleven wins and eight losses. 69 runs scored, and 69 runs allowed.
The casual fan will leave the series with his or her head held low, distraught over another lost series. You and I, though, we’ll be relishing in how nice that series actually turned out, and we’ll taste something resembling stale victory as we squeeze out the little fun this season has to provide.