Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves series primer
The Marlins begin their second road trip of the year much like they did their first: riding momentum.
After opening the season 5-2, Miami went winless on a two-city, six-game swing in Washington and Philadelphia. Following a sweep of the Mariners this past weekend, the Marlins visit Atlanta and New York.
The Braves (12-6) have won all but one of their series thus far this season as they stand atop the National League East standings. They have done so without two of their projected starters entering spring training. Both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy underwent Tommy John surgery.
First baseman Freddie Freeman has been a constant in the middle of the order with the league’s third-best batting average. Aaron Harang, who will start Wednesday, ranks second in baseball with a 0.70 ERA. Atlanta didn’t acquire the 13-year veteran until the last week of spring.
Miami (9-10) went 6-13 against the Braves last season, including a 4-5 mark at Turner Field. The club has gone 61-109 all-time in Atlanta.
Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez will face the Braves for the first time since hitting a home run against them and igniting a benches-clearing incident during his last outing of 2013. Giancarlo Stanton looks to build on his RBI lead, which currently sits at 26.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Marlins-Braves series:
SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS
CF Marcell Ozuna (Marlins): Ozuna is tied with Christian Yelich for the team lead in batting average (.333). Although he went hitless in four plate appearances to snap a four-game streak on Sunday, he walked twice. He has driven in five over the past three games.
1B Freddie Freeman (Braves): Freeman ranks third in the majors with a .397 average. After his hit streak was snapped at nine early last week, he has built it back up to five by going 8 for 21 with a homer, two runs and four RBI.
UTL Jeff Baker (Marlins): Baker is hitless over his past eight games. On Saturday, he sent a pair of shots to the warning track in straightaway center for outs. With Alex Wood scheduled to pitch Tuesday, Miami may go with right-handed batter Donovan Solano.
RF Jason Heyward (Braves): Heyward has the lowest average (.214) among Braves regulars. Though he went 3 for 6 with a run on Sunday, he has just four hits over his last 20 at-bats with no homers and no RBI.
0: Wins on the road for the Marlins this season over six games
8: Marlins players who are hitless against Braves closer Craig Kimbrel
7: Number of wins for Atlanta when scoring first this season. The club is 7-0 when doing so.
.667: Average for both Freddie Freeman and Evan Gattis against Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler.
"Who knows? I don’t like to think like that. I’m glad we’ve got him. I’m glad that he’s hitting third in our lineup. We’ve talked since last year about how big a part he is of this lineup and our team. There’s just not a lot of these guys out there, game-changers that can take one swing and change the course of the game. I’m glad he’s on our side." — Marlins manager Mike Redmond on where the club would be without slugger Giancarlo Stanton
"His stuff was exceptional (Saturday). He had plenty of movement and he was pounding the zone pretty good." — Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon on Marlins righty Henderson Alvarez’s complete game two-hitter
"I saw (the umpire) call me out. I started yelling, telling him I was safe. If we don’t have replay, it’s a 2-1 game, and we have two outs. It was huge." — Christian Yelich on the fielder’s choice play at home plate during the eighth inning of Sunday’s game. Following a review, the call was overturned and Yelich was ruled safe.
April 25-27 — Marlins at Mets