Braves 5 (62-45), Marlins 0 (52-53)
W: Brandon Beachy
L: Clay Hensley
Alrighty folks, three main stories I wanna focus on here tonight.
1. The debut of Jose Constanza. Now, I had never heard of the little man, but I quickly learned from Twitter (particularly from the proprietor of this here site) that he's a non-prospect who probably wasn't the best choice to replace the recently-DL'd Jordan Schafer. But they're similar players -- good speed, all the power of wet lettuce -- and Constanza (whom I so desperately wanted to be named Jorge) was replacing Schafer in the field, so, naturally, he had to hit leadoff.
I hate that logic.
But then, I'm also not a big fan of Schafer leading off, so. Anyway, Constanza went 1-fer-4 in his debut, singling Brooks Conrad home from second and then coming around to score himself on a Freddie Freeman sac fly. So except for the physical dissimilarities, I guess Constanza did a pretty good impression of the guy he replaced.
2. Brandon Beachy! After a weak couple starts to begin the second half of the season, Beachy came out tonight and did something he'd never done in his Major League career: pitch into the eighth inning. I like the results -- 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K -- and love that he posted those numbers without the surprising pop he had on his fastball to begin the year when he was hitting 95 MPH with the heat. That sounds counterintuitive, I know, but a big fastball hasn't been part of Beachy's repertoire, so he needs to be able to post quality starts when he's hanging in the low-90s.
3. Dan Uggla. I don't mean to be the guy who's always right in hindsight, but I was never all that down on Uggla this year. That's mostly because his arms are so big that it looks like it should be impossible for him to make contact and not hit a home run, but also because I believed in the pedigree and had mentally prepared myself for two or three years of good production before we saw this kind of decline from Uggla. To my -- and Braves fans' everywhere -- relief, Uggla has finally broken out of a seasonlong slump. According to his B-Ref page, in 22 games since July 1, he's hitting .299/.384/.563 with six home runs. That bit of excellence, though, does not include his performance tonight, where he muscled up on a three-run homer in the 7th that broke a 0-0 tie and would've been all the run-scoring the Braves needed.
As for the rest of the fellas, big ups to Martin 'MV' Prado (kidding ... kidding) who collected three singles, and Freddie Freeman who had two of his own. Eric O'Flaherty relieved Beachy in the eighth, collecting two outs sans incident en route to his 20th hold, and Scott Linebrink struck out Logan Morrison to bring an end to tonight's affair.
Tomorrow, we'll see an epic showdown between Anibal Sanchez's ears and Tim Hudson's forearm tattoo to determine which is most likely to make an uninterested girlfriend stop by the TV and say 'what is that?' 7:10 ET start time, y'all.