Same story, different day.
After being swept by the Baltimore Orioles while scoring only four total runs in three games, the Atlanta Braves held higher offensive expectations for the weekend set against the Philadelphia Phillies. In game one, though, that optimism quickly faded away, as Atlanta failed to generate much in the way of offense on the way to a 4-1 defeat.
Things did start well for the Braves, however, as the road team was the first to produce a run. That score came in the third inning as Nick Markakis crossed the plate after an infield single (insert laughter here) from A.J. Pierzynski. With Shelby Miller on the hill, that was cause for celebration, as this year's "ace" certainly gives the Braves a chance to win with the lead.
The remainder of the night did not go as planned.
Miller wasn't touched up until the fourth inning, but a 2-run single from Braves killer Carlos Ruiz gave Philadelphia a lead they would never relinquish. From there, the Phillies added runs in the fifth and sixth innings, on a Ryan Howard RBI single and a Domonic Brown home run respectively, and that was enough to chase Miller after six innings with a 4-1 deficit.
On the bright side, the bullpen (namely Ross Detwiler and Jake Brigham) did its job from that point forward, holding Philly scoreless over two frames. Still, the offense failed to generate anything resembling a serious threat to the 3-run deficit (even with two base-runners in the ninth), and while the Braves racked up 12 hits, each was a single, further illustrating what has been a punch-less lineup in recent days.
This wasn't the best evening for Shelby Miller, who allowed his four runs on 11 hits, but the right-hander hasn't earned a "win" since May 17. Of course, there were uneven performances like this one over the course of that time period, but Miller's ERA (2.44) speaks for itself with regard to his overall performance, and the offense is certainly becoming more frustrating by the day.
The Braves will have three more days to remove the sour taste of a series-opening defeat, but the losing streak has reached four games, and Atlanta is ten games under .500. Buckle up for what could be a long couple of months.