The Atlanta Braves have won three straight and need only one win to get back to the .500 mark for the season. They enter play on Saturday only 3.0 games back from the divisional lead behind the New York Mets but are five games back in the loss column. They also have a relatively easy bunch of games heading into the All-Star break against last-place teams. This is clearly a huge opportunity from a baseball perspective, but yet another incident of the Marlins being a bush-league franchise led by a bush-lead manager and some cowardly pitchers willing to follow him into the abyss of stupidity at the risk of player safety, their own reputations, and general civility provides a backdrop for Saturday’s game. The Marlins once again began a game by hitting Ronald Acuña Jr. which has reignited a feud that has been simmering since Acuña’s arrival in the Major Leagues. The game recap including a recap of the incident itself can be found here, and a summary of the postgame comments from Snitker, Acuna, and Mattingly can be found here.
Due to this general nonsense, there very well may be some fireworks on the field that are completely unrelated to Independence Day in today’s game, especially given that the Marlins send out Sandy Alcantara to the mound, who has played a role of his own in this moronic series of incidents. Acuña led off Game 1 of the NLDS last season with a home run off of Alcantara only to be plunked later in the game with a 97.5 MPH fastball. Alcantara followed this game up with a postgame comment saying that he was “ready to fight” Acuna. The tension between these two teams has existed ever since Jose Urena put an end to an unbelievable streak of leadoff home runs from Acuna by hitting Ronald on the first pitch of the game in 2018 and it is sure to be there for the rest of this series.
Setting aside the nonsense for now, Kyle Muller has put together two very good starts for the Braves this season, totaling 9 innings with 12 strikeouts, four walks, and only one run allowed. The big lefty did have a disastrous relief appearance, but the two starts have been fantastic and he will look to continue that Saturday. Alcantara is putting together a strong season, with a 3.12 ERA and peripherals that are slightly worse, but still quite good. He is also eating a lot of innings, averaging over six innings per appearance, somewhat rare in today’s game, as he is tied for second in total innings pitched across MLB this season.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, July 3, 2021, 4:10 pm EDT
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM
XM Radio: Ch. 187