What it means to sweep the Braves

Three Marlins players speak on the club’s beatdown of the NL East champs.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. told Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna before Friday’s series opener that the Miami Marlins would win this weekend’s series against the surging Atlanta Braves.

“I said, ‘You guys might win one and it’ll be a close game, but we’re going to blow you out twice,’” Chisholm told the two Braves that he considers friends. “They laughed about it, and they said, ‘you know we’re the best’ and I said, ‘I don’t care.’”

Even while embellishing how dominant the Marlins would be this weekend, Chisholm couldn’t have predicted this kind of beatdown.

On Sunday, the Marlins completed their first three-game sweep of the Braves since late September 2015. The Braves ended that season 67-95 and were still three years away from their first postseason appearance with their current core. Their best two players by WAR were Andrelton Simmons and Shelby Miller. A.J. Pierzynski was Atlanta’s cleanup hitter the last time the Braves were swept by Miami.

This weekend’s sweep felt a lot different, though. The 2023 Braves have already clinched the National League East, coming into this weekend’s series at 96-50. They were 9-1 against the Marlins this season before this weekend, and 68-28 since 2018. Additionally, the Marlins find themselves occupying the final NL Wild Card spot in their first competitive non-COVID season since 2016.

“Our team is here to fight,” Chisholm said. “That’s why I don’t really care who we go up against, because I know that my team is going to go out there and battle every single pitch.”

These three wins weren’t exactly pitching duels that suit Miami’s personnel. Instead, the Marlins had to beat the Braves at their own game and out-slug them on Friday in a 9-6 victory. They hit four home runs on Saturday to beat Atlanta 11-5, and they scored a season-high 16 runs on Sunday.

Marlins starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo, who grew up a Marlins fan in South Florida, said this Miami team is different from the ones he watched as a kid.

“The first two games, I feel like we came out hot,” said Luzardo, who threw six shutout innings on Sunday. “They came back and kind of punched us back in the mouth. I feel like Marlins teams of the past—I can speak as a Marlins fan—would’ve rolled over at times. But I feel like this team just doesn’t do that.”

Sunday’s 16-2 victory over the Braves was a culmination of everything the Marlins knew they could be when everyone is playing to their highest level. Eight starters reached base, Nick Fortes went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run, and Luis Arraez had another three-hit game.

Jon Berti, who came to Miami from Toronto in 2019 and is currently the longest-tenured Marlin, went 1-for-1 off the bench.

“So obviously we know what (the Braves) can do,” Berti said. “But we also know what we can do, and when we can put it together and play the kind of baseball we played this weekend, we showed we can compete with them.”

Berti continued: “I honestly didn’t learn anything other than continuing to confirm what I already know about this team. We’re just super resilient. There’s never any give-up.”

Over the weekend, the Marlins also finally notched an accomplishment that had eluded them all season—on Saturday, in their 149th game, Chisholm hit a grand slam. And then, the next day, he hit another one.

This weekend, Chisholm went 4-for-9 with five walks. He said this sweep is important for Miami’s momentum as they battle for the last wild card spot.

“It does a lot,” Chisholm said. “We just beat the number one team in baseball. For us, It means everything. Because we know if we can beat the Braves, everyone else is not a problem.”

Photo by Danis Sosa/Fish On First

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