The Miami Marlins kicked off a seven-game homestand by dropping two of three to the Washington Nationals. After a dominant performance by Jose Fernandez in a 7-0 Miami win on Friday, the Marlins dropped both Saturday and Sunday’s contests. The Marlins now get set to close the homestand with four games against the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Despite being swept in Philadelphia over the weekend, the Braves remain the best team in the National League with an 85-57 record and continue to hold a 12-game lead over the Washington Nationals in the division. The magic number for the Braves to clinch the division is nine.
For the Marlins, who own the worst record in the N.L. at 53-88, the series will feature the final start of the season for Jose Fernandez. Fernandez will be on the hill for the Fish on Wednesday to cap what has been a stellar rookie season. Fernandez allowed just a single hit while striking out nine over seven shutout innings in Friday’s victory over Washington. Fernandez is second in the National League with a 2.23 ERA and at home this season, Fernandez is 8-0 with an ungodly 1.19 ERA.
Over the four games, Miami will see four good young arms for the Atlanta Braves including Julio Teheran on Tuesday and Mike Minor, who will face Fernandez, on Wednesday. Should Atlanta lead late in any of the four games, Miami could also get a look at baseball’s saves leader, Craig Kimbrel, who leads the league with 44 saves on the season.
While the Marlins are last in virtually every offensive category, the Atlanta Braves are in the middle of the pack in the National League in batting average, but are fourth in the league in runs scored and top the league in home runs.
Justin Upton leads the Braves with 24 home runs, but four others players have at least 18 homers and eight total players have at least 10 home runs for Atlanta. B.J. Upton has nine home runs this season for Atlanta as well. Third baseman Chris Johnson has 10 long balls and is on pace for his first batting title leading the National League with a .330 batting average.
The four-game set will begin with night games starting at 7:10 P.M. eastern time on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before concluding with a day game at 12:40 P.M. on Thursday. The series will mark the final meeting between the Marlins and Braves this season.
Atlanta leads 10-5. While the Atlanta Braves have already won the season series with Miami, the Braves have played much better against the Fish at Marlins Park than at Turner Field. Atlanta still holds a 5-4 edge over the Marlins at Turner Field this season, but in South Florida, the Braves are 5-1 this year. In the last meeting between the teams, just over a week ago in Atlanta, the Braves took two of three, but dropped the series finale 7-0.
Monday – Kris Medlen (ATL) 12-12, 3.48 ERA vs. Henderson Alvarez (MIA) 3-3, 3.95 ERA
Tuesday – Julio Teheran (ATL) 11-7, 3.01 ERA vs. Tom Koehler (MIA) 3-9, 4.70 ERA
Wednesday – Mike Minor (ATL) 13-6, 3.06 ERA vs. Jose Fernandez (MIA) 11-6, 2.23 ERA
Thursday – Alex Wood (ATL) 3-3, 3.45 ERA vs. Nathan Eovaldi (MIA) 3-6, 3.80 ERA