For the first time in over a decade, Marlins fans were taking to social media to talk a little trash, calling this past weekend’s meeting the series of the year, and a bunch of other nonsense. The reality is the last three games meant everything to the Fish, but the Braves could have afforded some losses and still been in fantastic shape going into the All-Star break. Unfortunately, Atlanta had no interest in giving back any ground. Instead, they put on a show at Truist Park, taking a commanding lead in the NL East.
The series couldn’t have started off any better. The Braves exploded for five runs in the first inning, giving Michael Soroka — who was making his first start at Truist Park with fans in the building since 2019 — a lot of cushion to work with. The Maple Maddux began the night splendidly, retiring the first six batters he faced, but he ran into some trouble in the third, giving up two home runs on hanging sliders, which cut the Braves lead to just two.
However, that would be the last time the Marlins looked like they had life the entire series. Soroka settled in and tossed three more scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Braves offense would explode for 16 runs.
Atlanta would pick up right where they left off in Game 2 as well. With the 20-year-old Eury Perez on the mound — one of the bright young stars in all of baseball — the Braves exploded for six runs in the first, chasing Perez out of the game with just one out recorded in the first inning. The game was over before it even began, as Charlie Morton would go on to toss 5.2 scoreless frames en route to a 7-1 victory.
In one of the biggest series of the first half, the Braves played some of their best baseball, and they had an opportunity to cap it off yesterday with a sweep against last year’s NL Cy Young award winner Sandy Alcantara.
Spencer Strider toed the rubber for the Braves, and he ran into some trouble in the second inning, giving up two runs on a string of soft hits. However, Orlando Arcia would cut that lead in half with a solo home run, and the Braves would regain control in the fifth inning.
Some savvy baserunning from Michael Harris tied the game after he scored on a wild pitch. Then, two batters later, Ozzie Albies would smack his 20th homer of the season to give the Braves a two-run lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
An error from Albies led to a Marlins run in the seventh, but Travis d’Arnaud would put the game and the series out of reach with a two-run shot over the right field wall in the eighth.
The sweep is a fitting way for the Braves to put a bowtie on one of the best first halves we’ve ever seen in franchise history. Atlanta is now sitting nine games ahead of the Marlins for first place. They are also 12 games ahead of the Phillies and a ridiculous 18.5 games ahead of the Mets.
We haven’t even reached July 4th yet, and there’s still a ton of baseball left to be played, but with the amount of talent on this Braves team, it’s not too early to say… the NL East is over.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire