Preview: Pablo Lopez looks to help Marlins avoid being swept by Braves
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m.
The Atlanta Braves have addressed several areas of concern as they prepare to make a run for their first spot in the playoffs since 2013.
The Braves added depth in the bullpen and starting rotation, as well as a power bat, for the final two months.
All parts should be in place Wednesday when the Braves host the Miami Marlins in the finale of a three-game series at SunTrust Park. The Braves have won the first two games and lead the season series 8-3.
The pitching matchups Wednesday will be Atlanta right-hander Anibal Sanchez (5-3, 3.00 ERA) against Miami rookie right-hander Pablo Lopez (2-2, 5.34).
Sanchez lost to the Dodgers on Thursday when he gave up five runs (four earned) over 6 1/3 innings in Los Angeles’ 8-2 victory. It was his first loss since June 26. In five starts in July, Sanchez is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA, striking out 30 and walking eight.
He is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three career appearances, including two starts, against the Marlins.
Lopez will be making the sixth start of his career and his first against the Braves. He lost to Washington on Friday when he gave up four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in the Nationals’ 9-1 win.
“Pablo really battled,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “I was happy with his battle and fight to hang in there with those guys. I don’t think Pablo has his best stuff, talking with J.T. (Realmuto, catcher), but he really fought.”
The Braves landed Duvall in exchange for three players who did not figure in the team’s long-range future — pitchers Matt Wisler and Lucas Sims and outfielder Preston Tucker. Each of the trio would likely have been removed from the 40-man roster following the season.
“Duvall we felt was a good fit,” said Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos. “We really value outfield defense and then you combine power — those are good qualities and they are hard to find.”
It also helped that Duvall is not eligible for arbitration until next year.
Duvall hit more than 30 home runs in each of his previous two seasons, but this year is batting .205 with 15 homers in 370 plate appearances.
The Braves are expected to play Duvall in left field against right-handed pitching and move rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. to center field. That will send Gold Glove outfielder Ender Inciarte to the bench against lefties. Inciarte made a case to remain in the lineup by getting four hits on Tuesday night.
Gausman, a right-hander, was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft. Last season he had a career-high 11 wins to go along with 179 strikeouts and 186 2/3 innings. The durable Gausman has made 85 starts since the start of the 2016 season. He is 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA this year.
O’Day, a right-handed reliever, is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 20 games this season. He had been with the Orioles since 2012 and proved to be a durable arm, as he recorded 60-plus appearances seven times. O’Day was an All-Star in 2015 when he posted a 1.52 ERA. He has been on the disabled list with a season-ending hamstring injury since early July and will not return this year.
Atlanta traded right-hander Evan Phillips, catcher Brett Cumberland, left-hander Bruce Zimmermann and infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion and international slot money to the Orioles. Only Phillips had major-league experience, but MLB Pipeline ranked Encarnacion as the team’s 14th-best prospect and ranked Cumberland No. 30.