Now that the Miami Marlins (45-52) have snapped a six-game skid dating back to the first half of the season, they will face National League East opponents in seven of the next 10 hoping to make up ground as the trade deadline approaches.
Miami begins a seven-game road trip with four in Atlanta to face the Braves (54-44) — 8 1/2 back of them and the Washington Nationals in the division.
When these two clubs last met at the end of May, Atlanta swept a three-game set at Marlins Park. The series is 5-4 in favor of the Braves.
Righty Tom Koehler makes his second-half debut on Monday. In his previous start in New York, he got the no decision after allowing three runs on two hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings. Miami has dropped five of his past six outings. Koehler is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts against the Braves in this year. Righty Julio Teheran has won three of his last four starts and his ERA is sixth in the NL. Over 14 1/3 innings against Miami, Teheran has given up just three runs on 10 hits with 13 strikeouts.
Rejoining the rotation for the second game is right-hander Jacob Turner. He opened the season as the club’s fourth starter before having it taken away in mid-June as he moved to the bullpen. Turner is 2-4 with a 6.38 ERA in nine starts this season.
After missing the first month of the season because of urinary tract surgery, lefty Mike Minor recorded quality starts in six of his first seven. Since, he has just two in the past seven. Minor earned the victory in his final outing before the break despite surrendering six runs on 11 hits in six innings. He has not faced Miami this year and is 3-4 with a 4.52 in 13 starts.
Looking to rebound from a rough start to the second half is righty Nathan Eovaldi, who surrendered eight runs on nine hits in four innings for the second-worst outing of his career. Since June, Miami has lost eight of his last nine starts. His ERA has jumped from 3.24 to 4.08. Eovaldi has a 1.29 ERA in three starts against Atlanta in 2014.
Countering him will be righty Ervin Santana. The veteran, who was signed to a one-year deal during spring, has won three of four since dropping three in a row in mid-June. Santana has given up four runs in his past two starts. In two appearances against Miami in May, he went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA.
As of now, All-Star Henderson Alvarez is still scheduled to pitch Thursday’s finale. He exited after just 2 2/3 frames on Saturday with a left shin contusion. Since winning 10 straight starts of his, the Marlins have dropped two in a row but his ERA still ranks fourth in the NL.
Another Atlanta veteran signee, righty Aaron Harang, is on a four-game winning streak. During this stretch, he has allowed more than two runs just once over five starts. In three appearances facing the Marlins, he is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA — worst against any team this season.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Marlins-Braves series…
SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS
3B Casey McGehee (Marlins): Not only did McGehee go 5 for 12 with three RBI to open the second half, but he also blasted his second home run of the season on Sunday. McGehee leads the NL with 120 hits.
3B Chris Johnson (Braves): Johnson has a modest five-game hit streak (hits in eight of the past 10). In a three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies, he went 4 for 11 with a home run and three RBI. Over the past 10 games, he is hitting .300 with seven runs, four home runs and 12 RBI.
1B Garrett Jones (Marlins): Twice in one at-bat on Sunday, Jones just missed hitting a home run by feet. After sitting out the second-half opener with a southpaw on the mound, he went hitless in seven at-bats against the San Francisco Giants. Over his past 10 games, Jones is batting .171 with one run and an RBI. He last homered June 24 — a span of 17 games.
SS Andrelton Simmons (Braves): Simmons opened the second half going 1 for 12 with three RBI against the Phillies. Over his final 10 at-bats, however, he went hitless. He is batting .220 in his past 10 games, dropping his average from .266 to .259.
32: Two-strike homers for the Marlins, second most in the NL
4: Home runs for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton off lefty Mike Minor in 19 at-bats
37: Saves for the Braves, most in the NL
1.50: ERA for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in 31 appearances against the Marlins
"(McGehee’s) at-bats have been solid. (Giancarlo) Stanton is swinging the bat good. His at-bats were good, which is a good sign. We’re looking like we’re getting going. That was a big win for us." — Manager Mike Redmond on snapping a six-game skid on Sunday
"I had more stolen bases (two) than homers (one) going into that one." — Third baseman Casey McGehee on knocking his second homer on Sunday
"Throwing strikes, getting ahead. It’s always been key to my success. Today only that one walk in the sixth. Other than that threw strikes." — Left-hander Brad Hand on his recipe for success