Entering play on July 1, 1986, the Braves, fresh off a 5-game winning streak, were three games over .500 and just one-and-a-half games behind the first place Giants.
San Francisco was in town for the second of a three-game series. A two-run homer by Murph put the Braves ahead 6-5 in the 7th. Maybe Chuck Tanner’s guarantee of a parade down Peachtree Street wasn’t so outlandish.
The optimism was short-lived. Candy Maldonado homered off Gene Garber to tie it in the 9th. One inning later, Maldonado lined a single to right field, scoring two, with a third run crossing home thanks to a Terry Harper throwing error. They’d lose 52 of their remaining 85 games.
The 2004 Braves were two games under .500 as play began July 1. They were three games removed from a stirring win in Camden Yards in which they trailed 7-0 entering the 7th. The offense had come alive, accounting for 27 runs over their last four games.
They wasted no time against the Marlins this date 11 years ago. Andruw hit a bases-clearing double in the first, followed by a two-run homer by Eli Marrero to give the good guys a 6-0 lead. Russ Ortiz and Tim Drew combined to hold the Fish to one run.
They’d reach .500 the following night in a game Nick Green will never forget. Down 3-2 to Boston (minus the legions of bandwagon Red Sox fans we’ve come to loathe) in the 10th, Green tied it up with a sac fly. Two innings later, Green smashed a three-run homer off a pitcher named Martinez (okay, so it wasn’t Pedro) to give the Braves the win. They’d go 56-26 the rest of the way to secure yet another division title.
My point being, it’s still early. Unfortunately, the 2015 Braves appear to have much more in common with the ’86 team than the ’04 version.
Look no further than tonight’s line-up:
Peterson 4, Maybin 8, Markakis 9, Pierzynski 2, Uribe 5, KJohnson 3, Simmons 6, Perez 7, Wisler 1