After a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta comes in to the series on a five-game winning streak that will be put to the test against the Braves' 0-12 mark on Monday's this season.
The Marlins have been pretty busy on the trade market, as Miami shipped pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to Detroit, and then sent out Hanley Ramirez and the rest of his contract to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They come in on a two-game winning streak, but still sit 14 games back in the National League East with a record of 47-54.
There's not much of it left. Jose Reyes is the leader among remaining full-time players, hitting .275/.344/.414 with a .332 wOBA, 106 wRC+, and more walks than strikeouts. He also has 24 stolen bases to his name, something to watch against tonight's starter Tommy Hanson.
Miami's other speedster is Emilio Bonifacio, who enters hitting .272/.351/.340 with a .332 wOBA and 106 wRC+, both the same as Reyes'. He leads the team with 28 steals.
Since coming over to Miami from Houston, Carlos Lee has had no problem getting on base, but has seen his power evaporate. In those 20 games, he's hitting .239/.358/.313 with a .309 wOBA and 91 wRC+. Justin Ruggiano has been on a batting average on balls in play led tear, hitting .359/.422/.672 with a .455 wOBA and 189 wRC+. Of course, his BABIP of .429 isn't going to last forever.
Austin Kearns is hitting well in limited plate appearances, with a .255/.340/.426, a .336 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 109. Donovan Solano has as well, entering with a line of .282/.358/.380. John Buck has been terrible, hitting just .169/.286/.298 on the season.
Pitching matchups after the jump.
Monday July 30th, 7:10 PM ET
This will be Buehrle's second straight start against the Braves. In his first last week, he went five innings, giving up five hits, three runs (two earned), while walking four and striking out four. On the season, he enters at 9-9 with a 3.31 ERA, 3.84 FIP, and 4.09 xFIP. Buehrle has never been much of a strikeout pitcher, but is striking out the most batters per nine he has since 2008 with a 5.37 K/9. He doesn't walk anyone, with a BB/9 of 1.58 on the year, and leads the team in K/BB rate at 3.39.
In terms of his stuff, Buehrle features three types of fastballs to go along with a fantastic change-up and a curveball. He throws a four-seam, two-seam, and a cutter. He uses all three over 10-percent of time, with his four-seam reaching around 85 miles per hour, with the two-seam slightly below that and cutter a few miles per hour slower. His best off-speed offering is the change, which he has thrown 30-percent of the time this season to great results. The pitch has a 13.95 percent whiff rate, and a 24.63 percent whiff/swing rate.
Tuesday July 31st, 7:10 PM ET
Atlanta saw Ricky Nolasco last week as well, chasing him in 5.1 innings after notching eight hits and six runs against him. On the year, he is 8-9 with a 4.80 ERA, 4.22 FIP, and 4.24 xFIP. Nolasco has seen a drop in his strikeout percentage to 14.6% and an increase in his walk percentage to 6.2%, which is never a good combination for a pitcher.
Nolasco features a four-seam, two-seam, slider, curve, and a split. His velocity on the fastball is down over a mile per hour from last year to 90.48 mph, a possible explanation for his declining strikeout rate. The two-seamer that he throws 21% of the time is a good ground-ball pitch, with a GB% of 13.6 and a velocity of over 90 miles per hour. He also gets a good number of ground-balls with the splitter, as it has a 14% ground-ball rate. Nolasco's slider is his best swing and miss offering, with a whiff rate over 16% and a whiff/swing rate of over 30%.
Wednesday August 1st, 7:10 PM ET
Zambrano enters at 5-9 with a 4.54 ERA, 4.65 FIP, and a 4.89 xFIP on the season. Walks as always are the issue with him, as he's issued 67 free passes in 115 innings. He has a strikeout percentage of 16.3%, and a walk percentage of 13.2%.
Zambrano has upped his ground-ball rate though, as it has increased from 42% last year to almost 49% this season. Increased usage of his cutter and two-seam fastball could be the reason for the rise in grounders. He basically throws four pitches: a two-seam, cutter, slider, and splitter. Every now and then, he'll mix in a slow curveball and a four-seam fastball.
The two-seam is thrown at an average velocity of just over 90 miles per hour, with the slider and splitter both averaging over 80 miles per hour as well. The splitter gets his best amount of ground-balls (12.19%) and has a whiff percentage over 14 and a whiff/swing rate of over 28%.
Thursday August 2nd, 7:10 PM ET
Recent addition Nathan Eovaldi makes his second in a Marlins uniform on Thursday. On the year, he is 2-6 with a 3.94 ERA, 3.98 FIP, and a 4.40 xFIP. He has a 14.7% strikeout percentage, and a 8.3% walk percentage. He throws hard, averaging over 95 miles per hour on his fastball. He also throws a slider, change-up, and curve. The slider is thrown hard, at an average velocity of over 85 miles per hour. While he hasn't missed a ton of bats yet, his stuff suggests that the strikeouts should be coming.