After a split in a four game series against the Pirates that seemed to last a week, Atlanta welcomes the Florida Marlins to Turner Field for a three game set. Lots has happened to the Marlins since they last played against Atlanta.
They come to town with a new manager, Jack McKeon, who replaced Edwin Rodriguez. Florida also suffered through a miserable June where they went 5-23, but have turned it around and have gone 16-8 in July and are coming off of a three game sweep of Washington.
The Marlins are tied for eighth in the National League in batting average (.249), sixth in on-base average (.320), ninth in slugging perentage (.388), tied for sixth in wOBA (.314), and sixth in wRC+ (96).
Individually, the Marlins are led by Gaby Sanchez and the insane power exploits of Mike Stanton. Sanchez is hitting .287/.367/.475 with 16 homers, a wOBA of .366 and 131 wRC+. Stanton is hitting .257/.333/.534 with 24 homers, a wOBA of .370 and a 134 wRC+.
Hanley Ramirez struggled to begin the season but has slowly started to turn his numbers for the season around (.247/.338/.388). The streaking Emilio Bonifacio carries a 26 game hitting streak in the series, and is hitting .299/.376/.383 for the Marlins this season.
Outfielder Logan Morrison is providing some additional power, with 16 home runs and a .253/.327/.475 triple slash line. Catcher John Buck is struggling, hitting .226/.307/.377, as is Omar Infante (.266/.315/.332). Since coming over from the Red Sox in a trade, Mike Cameron is hitting only .186 but has an on-base average of .340 and a slugging percentage of .419.
Sanchez has missed the last three games with a tight hamstring, but could return tonight to the lineup. They will be without Braves killer Chris Coghlan.
Pitching matchups and a look at the Marlins bullpen after the jump..
Friday July 29th, 7:35 PM EDT
In the first game of the series, reliever turned starter Clay Hensley (1-2, 2.88 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 5.36 xFIP) takes on the Braves Brandon Beachy (3-2, 3.58 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 3.48). Hensley has made two starts on the season after moving to the rotation to fill the spot left by Josh Johnson. In those two starts, he has allowed two earned runs and five hits in ten innings, lasting five innings in each start. He's walked six and struck out five in those two starts which is nothing impressive. Hensley throws a two seam fastball that averages just over 87 miles per hour. He also throws a change, curve and slider. His change-up is his primary off-speed pitch.
Saturday July 30th, 7:10 PM EDT
In the second game of the series, Anibal Sanchez (6-3, 3.60 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 3.04 xFIP) takes on Tim Hudson (9-7, 3.42 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 3.38 x FIP). Sanchez has struggled in July, giving up 20 earned runs in five starts this month. He strikes out a ton of batters, with a 9.39 K/9 and walks only 2.65 per nine innings. Sanchez features a four seam, two seam, and a cut fastball to go along with slider, curve, and a change. All three of his fastballs average just under 92 miles per hour. He throws his slider about 25 percent of the time, so it's his primary off-speed pitch, followed by the change-up. In his last start, Sanchez went seven innings against the Mets, giving up 11 hits and four earned runs while walking none and striking out 8.
Sunday, July 31st, 1:35 PM EDT
In the finale, Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 4.04 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 3.44 xFIP) goes up against Tommy Hanson (11-5, 3.13 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 3.05 xFIP). The last time Atlanta faced Nolasco, he went 7.1 innings, giving up eight hits and two runs. He has a K/9 of 6.80 and a BB/9 of 2.24 so he doesn't strike out as many batters as Sanchez, but walks less as well. Nolasco features a fastball, slider, curve, and change along with a split finger fastball that he throws only occasionally. He's primarily fastball/slider, with the average velocity of his fastball just over 90 miles per hour. In his last outing he went 5.2 innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs while walking three and striking out four in a win against Washington.
Leo Nunez - RH (CL)
Michael Dunn -LH
Brian Sanches -RH
Randy Choate -LH
Edward Mujica -RH
Burke Badenhop -RH
Steve Cishek -RH
The Marlins bullpen ranks eighth in the National League in ERA (3.39), third in FIP (3.58), and seventh in xFIP (3.79). Closer Leo Nunez has been up and down at times, but has 29 saves and a 3.40 ERA. Randy Choate has been one of the best left handed relievers around this season, throwing 21.1 innings with a 1.27 ERA and a 11.39 K/9. Dunn has 47 appearances and strikes out a lot of batters while walking alot as well. Mujica is the other most heavily used bullpen arm, making 46 appearances with a 3.02 ERA.
Atlanta should expect to win two of three games in the series but the Marlins have been playing well of late so it should be a good series.