Cue the theme song from the television show “X-Files”. There’s a conspiracy afoot.
The Atlanta Braves may not have formally accused the Miami Marlins of doing anything wrong, but they’re certainly questioning whether there might have been more to the three-game sweep they suffered in Miami than meets the eye.
The proof is in the figurative tin foil hats Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and his staff continued to try on throughout the series. Gonzalez changed his team’s signs five times during Wednesday’s game alone, and went so far as to investigate the Marlins’ patented sculpture in left center field to see if there might be a guy hiding in there with a camera or something.
“If you would have taken a look at our dugout at one point in the game, it was like the fourth or fifth inning, they were hitting balls everywhere, we got three guys looking at the scoreboard,” Gonzalez said. “You got two guys looking at their bullpen. I’m calling (bullpen coach) Eddie (Perez), ‘Eddie do you see anything?’ I’m looking at Gattis, thinking he’s maybe tipping his pitches. Carlos (Tosca) is looking in the bench over there, maybe somebody is whistling or something.”
“There was one guy sitting (in outfield seats) who had a red hat and an orange shirt, “Gonzalez said. “I said ‘Boy that’s a bad combination to have. I told (Jordan) Schafer and (Tyler) Pastornicky to keep an eye on that guy over there.’ The guy got up, went to get a coke.”
The Braves found nothing, but that didn’t stop them from airing out their suspicions with the media.
“It was baffling, like, where were these guys last week?” asked Atlanta starter Aaron Harang. He had shut down the Marlins in a start last week and entered this series with a 1.00 ERA before being beat around en route to an 8-3 loss in game one. “They were way too comfortable. It seemed like they were all hitting like Ted Williams.”
Let’s not forget, however, that Harang is 36 years old and has a 4.91 ERA in 32 starts during the last two seasons. His 1.00 ERA to me was more dumfounding than the Marlins offensive explosion this week.
The Marlins, of course, were a little peeved.
“Just give us a little credit,” Miami manager Mark Redmond told the Miami Herald. “I mean, we’re out there playing the game the right way. Guys are battling and competing. That’s how we’re winning ballgames. Actually, I don’t even think much about it because my focus is on our guys and my team and what we’re doing. We just played a great three-game series and I’m not going to let anything diminish that.”
The Braves should probably spend a little less time questioning the Marlins’ integrity and a little more time figuring out how they were only able to push seven combined runs across the plate for the entire series. Miami outscored Atlanta 18-3 in the first two games of the series alone!