Following Thursday night’s loss to the visiting Atlanta Braves, the only surprising part about losing to a team that was thirty games under .500 coming into the contest for Miami Marlins fans was the likely the fact that they couldn’t blame right fielder Nick Markakis.
For the first time in sixteen games against Miami this year, Markakis failed to record a hit.
Nick would fix that in Friday’s equally depressing affair, as the Braves ran their record against the Marlins this season to 11-6. Against the rest of the league, they’re 52-85. They only have a winning record against four teams they’ve played against, and that’s provided you count a three-game set against the White Sox in Interleague play. Only one of the four- the Mets- is a fellow NL East member, and not a one has been so roundly dominated as the Fish have.
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In fact, of all of baseball’s six cellar dwellers, none of them has done more damage to a division rival than the Braves have inflicted upon the Marlins.
So it occurs to me that many of you alert readers out there might well be asking:
Is this the worst the Marlins have ever done against Atlanta? Or worse still, is this the worst they’ve ever done against any NL East foe?
Hard as it might be to believe, the answer to both questions is a resounding no. Even a sweep this weekend to finish off the annual set would leave the 2016 Braves well short of being able to claim either distinction.
If not this though, what does the worst look like? So glad you asked:
1.) 1999 Philadelphia Phillies (.154)
2.) 2012 Atlanta Braves (.222)
3.) 1994 Montreal Expos (.222)
4.) 1995 Atlanta Braves/1999 New York Mets (.231)
5.) 2001 Philadelphia Phillies/2004 Atlanta Braves/2013 Washington Nationals (.263)
That’s the comprehensive list of the five worst season-long performances the Marlins have put up against the NL East, and it should provide some comfort, even in the event that we don’t see the Marlins beat the Braves again until 2017. This was not the level of dominance displayed by the ’99 Phillies, and for that matter, the season we’ve enjoyed to this point was nothing like 1999 season itself.
You were promised a Braves-centric list though, and to that we will proceed. Which works, as the Braves are a huge part of the asterisk some of the baseball history aficionados among you might have been affixing to a few those records. I’m speaking now of the switch to unbalanced schedule, and the resulting explosion of division games, that began with the 2001 season.
Playing eighteen or nineteen games is a much different animal than eight or twelve, and it would be more than fair to observe that the damage caused by those blasted ’99 Phills or strike-shortened ’94 Expos is much less impressive in light of that change.
If we were to make a list of the five worst post-2000 finishes, the Braves would own or tie for all five of those spots. And yes, going into tonight’s game, the 2016 Braves would make that list.
But the historian in me can’t just throw out those early failures, so this list will be a cumulative one. This list will run in order from fifth to first by degree of winning percentage, although I’ll chime in with just how bad it really was the grand scheme of the season as well. Buckle up for some historical heartache.