A long ass time ago, around the turn of the century, my alma mater's football team was really, really good. The Washington State Cougars won 30 games between 2001-2003, making appearances in the Sun, Rose and Holiday Bowls, respectively. At one point late in 2002, they were ranked number three overall in the AP/Coach's poll. It was joyous bedlam on campus, I can tell you from personal experience.
It was particularly exciting because, up to that point, the Cougars had been anything but good through the course of history. Oh sure, there were a couple of flashes in the pan (Drew Bledsoe's squad in the '80s, Ryan Leaf's team in the late '90s), but nothing like the sustained success that was unfolding before us at the time.
As great as the team was, one thing they could never do, much to my agonized disappointment year after year, was beat the cross state rival Washington Huskies. Each year I would tell anyone who would listen that there was no way the Huskies would win the Apple Cup this time, the Cougars are clearly superior, look at that passing attack! Each year, my younger sister the Husky student would grow more bold in her dismissive jests of my beloved Cougs. The worst part about it was that I was sooooooo convinced that the Cougars were better than the Huskies, but for four years straight, the entire time I was there at school, it didn't matter. Mike Price's Cougars could never beat Rick Neuheisel's Huskies, and all I could do was look down at the ground glumly and kick rocks while my sister who never gave a shit about football before bagged on my Cougars.
Circling back around to baseball in a wide arc, we return to the Fish.
The Miami Marlins are a better team than the Atlanta Braves. The Marlins are a more talented team than the Braves. I don't think even Braves fans would dispute it.
Sometimes, that just doesn't matter.
- A few unhappy facts for you: The Braves with this victory captured their first home series win OF THE SEASON. Prior to this series, they were 2-20 at Turner Field, and have now doubled their win total there. The Marlins also gifted the Braves their first road series victory of the season (in case you've forgotten). The Braves have also won five straight against the Fish, which accounts for 36% of their win total this year (14). Going back to 1993, the Marlins have played more games against the Braves than anyone else (377), and have lost more games against them (218) then any other team they've played against. They are 72-120 all time at Turner Field. That hellhole can't close fast enough.
- Wei-Yin Chen was not great in this one, but passable. Five innings of work, five strikeouts, one earned run, one walk, two hits. The Braves to their credit really made him work, racking up his pitch count to 90 before he was pulled in favor of pinch-hitting Christian Yelich.
- Speaking of Yelich, he and Giancarlo Stanton sat out yet again, giving way to Ichiro Suzuki and Cole Gillespie, respectively. Gillespie would factor in heavily to Miami's only scoring of the day, driving in Derek Dietrich with a booming triple off of Aaron Blair in the second inning and coming home soon thereafter on an Adeiny Hechavarria single. The Marlins were shut out thereafter, mustering only four hits the remaining seven innings.
- The Marlins have been fairly solid defensively even with Dee Gordon absent, but today was not one of those days as Marcell Ozuna committed two errors and Martin Prado added a third.
- The back half of the pen got clobbered in this one; Jose Urena allowed three runs in one inning of work and Edwin Jackson, not one to be left out, allowed three runs of his own after he walked two batters and
scrub scholarly gentleman Gordon Beckham torched him for a three run shot. Dustin McGowan continued his quiet run of recent effectiveness, however, by pitching an inning scoreless.
Tom Koehler vs. Julio Teheran in the series finale tomorrow, 5:05 ET.
Make it stop, Marlins.
Brave of the game: Nick Markakis (.342)
Marlin of the game: José Ureña (-.454)
Play of the game: Markakis singles in Freddie Freeman; Tyler Flowers scores on error (.355)