Fresh off a sweep of the NL East leading Nationals, the Braves head south for their final trip to Miami of the year. The Braves have 15 games left in the 2012 season, and 6 of them are against the bottom-feeding Marlins. Over the last month, Miami is 12-16, but they most recently took 2 of 3 from the NL Central leading Reds. As the Phillies showed this weekend, no team, regardless of record, should be taken for granted. Miami has some serious talent, and Atlanta can't afford to overlook them.
Miami is led by their all-world right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who has returned from injury to terrorize National League pitching over the past few months. Stanton is a walking highlight reel, the surest bet in baseball to hit a tape-measure homer on any given day. Stanton's light-tower power is well chronicled, and he's shown it off over the last month, hitting 11 homers during that span, second in the majors to only Adrian Beltre. Stanton is also posting (no surprise) an absurd .377 ISO during that time, and leads the Marlins in fWAR at 1.3. Stanton's achilles heel will continue to be his strikeouts, as he is whiffing in a whopping 38.8% of his at bats in the last month. Trying not to pitch to contact against Miami's cleanup hitter will be key for Atlanta.
Justin Ruggiano continues to hit well and play almost every day, and is second to Stanton amongst Marlin hitters in fWAR over the last month. Ruggiano has posted a .316/.393/.474 line, which is good for 0.9 fWAR. The last time Atlanta played Miami, we wrote that Ruggiano was due for regression, and as of now we're still waiting for it. Ruggiano's line is buoyed by an insane .429 BABIP, so, ostensibly, correction is imminent. Regardless, the Braves would be wise to look out for him.
Jose Reyes is still playing well, and is the only other Marlins regular with a fWAR of over 0.5 for the month. Reyes is posting a respectable .284/.336/.459 line and is still one of the most consistent threats in a suddenly impotent Marlins' lineup.
A look at pitching matchups for the series after the jump.
Monday, September 17, 7:10 PM EST
|2012 - Tim Hudson||14-6||3.66||1.23||94||46|
|2012 - Wade LeBlanc||2-4||2.95||1.19||37||14|
Tuesday, September 18, 7:10 PM EST
|2012 - Paul Maholm||3-4||4.28||1.32||40||15|
|2012 - Nathan Eovaldi||3-6||5.44||1.81||24||22|
Wednesday, September 19, 7:10 PM EST
|2012 - Kris Medlen||8-1||1.62||0.96||102||21|
|2012 - Josh Johnson||8-12||3.81||1.27||153||57|