Hero of the Game: Brett Hayes (.003 WPA+)
Goat of the Game: Ricky Nolasco (-0.24 WPA)
Play of the Game:
The Marlins were shut down by Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy on Thursday night. Ricky Nolasco struggled, but with the way that Beachy was pitching, it didn’t matter that much. After a couple of high scoring performances by the Miami offense, the Marlins couldn't muster more than five hits against Beachy.
Brandon Beachy is a very good pitcher. Despite not possessing above-average velocity, Beachy has outstanding command of his pitches which will keep him in the majors for a very long time. In today's game, Beachy only faced thirty-two Marlins hitters to achieve his first complete game shutout. You can look at Beachy's start today in two different perspectives. Some fans will see that the Marlins got shutout by an undrafted twenty-five year old that played third base in college and shake their heads in disgust. The smart Marlins' fans will realize that Beachy is an underrated pitcher who struck out more than one batter per inning last year in twenty-five starts. My point is that the Marlins ran into a great pitcher tonight who was on top of his game.
The Braves started the scoring in the first when Martin Prado got a 0-2 fastball on the outside half of the plate and lined it into right-center field. On the play, the ball was carrying quickly away from Emilio Bonifaco. In order to even be close to the ball, any center fielder would have to have tremendous speed and footwork. Bonifacio got his glove on the ball, but he couldn’t quite reach far enough to make the grab. Still, he probably should have made the play. However, Mike Stanton was sprinting towards him, so my guess is that Bonifacio saw Stanton in the corner of his eye, and it averted his attention. Anyways, Prado pulled into third base with an RBI triple.
In the third inning, the Braves scored again when Freddie Freeman blasted a Nolasco fastball into the right-field bleachers. They also scored later in the same inning when Brian McCann looped a double into left field. Logan Morrison was just inches from catching the ball thanks to a valiant diving effort, but the ball was just inches past his outstretched glove. In the fourth, Atlanta added an insurance run thanks to a Michael Bourn single.
Coming out of the bullpen, Chad Gaudin was just horrible. In two innings of work, Gaudin pretty much eliminated all hope of a Marlins comeback. He gave up three earned runs, and needed fifty-six pitches to make it through the fifth and sixth inning. Tonight was the first time we have seen Gaudin struggle this year, so let's hope this was a one-time thing.
The rest of the game was fairly uneventful. Brandon Beachy continued to dominate Marlins' hitters, recording his first career complete game in the process. The Marlins will travel to Cleveland to face the Indians tomorrow night at 7:05 PM ET. On the mound for Cleveland will be Justin Masterson and Carlos Zambrano will pitch for the Marlins. Hopefully, Zambrano will be able to continue his success against a talented Cleveland roster.