5 takeaways as Braves enter All-Star break whiffing in Miami

Credit: Lynne Sladky

Credit: Lynne Sladky

The Braves head into the All-Star break failing to go above .500 all season as they fell to the Marlins 7-4 Sunday afternoon and ended the first half of the season at 44-45.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

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1. Marlins righty Pablo Lopez had a nearly perfect performance. He led off the game with nine-straight strikeouts and had just five baserunners over six innings of work.

Lopez wasn’t getting full count strikeouts, either. They were succinct, easy strikeouts. Of his 83 pitches, only 18 of them were balls.

“He is quite the pitcher,” said Braves pitcher Ian Anderson. “The pitching in this division is pretty ridiculous. It seems like everyday we’re facing a guy that has the ability to do that.”

2. On the other side, Anderson was out of sync.

After striking out the leadoff man, Anderson walked two batters and then allowed a three-run homer to Jesus Aguilar to make it a 3-0 game in the first inning.

By the time he was mercifully relieved in the third inning, Anderson had allowed four earned runs and walked five batters. His four strikeouts were quiet and didn’t make up for the six hits allowed.

The loss gives Anderson a 5-5 record with a 3.56 ERA.

“Maybe it was just fatigue,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was his first time through all of this, the stress of a major league season and hopefully it’s nothing bad.”

Credit: Lynne Sladky

Credit: Lynne Sladky

3. When Anderson was pulled in the third inning, Snitker said it seemed like there was something more to Anderson’s lackluster performance.

“My shoulder was getting a little tight,” Anderson said. “I think we’re going to get it checked out, but it just feels like inflammation. We’ll get it checked out and see what they say.”Snitker suggested that Anderson might spend some time on the IL after the break, regardless of the results, to give the pitcher some added rest.

“I don’t know if his shoulder was as good as he was making out,” Snitker said. “We’re going to have him looked at probably Tuesday. There may be something going on. As with anything else, we’ll know more (then).”

Marlins 7, Braves 4 (box score)

4. One of the offensive highlights of the last series before the All-Star break came from the bat of Dansby Swanson. The shortstop hit two homers in Sunday’s loss.

In the last seven games, Swanson is batting .429 with six RBIs and 12 hits.

“Those are two loud balls he hit today,” Snitker said. “He’s been through as many offensive struggles as anybody, but he keeps hanging in there, taking a professional approach and the consistency everyday. I admire the hell out of that kid.”Swanson also made several key stops on defense, adding to what Snitker feels is a Golden Glove-caliber campaign.

“To his credit, if this kid doesn’t win the Golden Glove there’s something wrong,” Snitker said. “Playing shortstop, the plays he makes and what he does for us on the other side of the ball has never affected anything.”

Credit: Lynne Sladky

Credit: Lynne Sladky

5. Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman will now head to Colorado to play in the MLB All-Star game, with Ronald Acuna also making the trip.

As the trio continues to compete this week, the remaining players and coaches will look back on the frustrating, resilient first 89 games of the season.

“There’s a ton to be proud of in that first half without a doubt,” Anderson said. “Everything seemed to kind of go against us and to not be too far out of first place and a playoff spot gives us a lot of energy and excitement going into the second half.”

Stat to know

9 (Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez struck out the first nine batters, setting an MLB record)


“We startup next Friday and we’re a winning streak away from probably pushing the envelope for first (place), quite honestly. I’m proud of the guys. This hasn’t been easy.” (Brian Snitker on the first half of the 2021 season)

Up next

The Braves will be off until Friday, July 16 when they host the Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. at Truist Park.

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