Series Preview: Braves vs. Marlins

Marc Serota

The Braves get their first look at the 9-10 Marlins.

Let's be honest: the Marlins are not going to be in the playoffs this year. Still, that doesn't mean they don't have a competitive team. Following a disastrous 2013 that saw them lose 100 games, Jeffrey Loria went and signed some veterans to shore up the offense.

The Braves get their first look at the new faces of the Marlins this week. Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia add some much-needed pop to an offense that hit just 95 home runs in 2013. Of course, the Miami offense revolves around Giancarlo Stanton, he of the ML-leading 26 RBI and tied for the lead with six home runs, some of which still haven't landed yet. McGehee, who drove in 10 runs in the team's first five games, has but five RBI since.

19 games into the season, and the Marlins are five games better than last year, and find themselves in the unusual position of not being dead last in the NL East, if only by a half-game. The new-look offense has scored 94 runs, second-most in the NL. Most of that, however, has been at home and that's where they've won. The Marlins are 0-6 away from Miami and have scored just 18 runs total in those six games while hitting just .230. The same story goes for their pitching: their home ERA (2.54) is more than 3.5 runs better than on the road (6.16). Much of that is due to the bullpen, which has given up 15 runs in 18.1 innings. Even Jose Fernandez, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, was roughed up in his lone road start this year (4 IP, 6 ER). He and Freddie Freeman are very familiar with each other, with Freddie 3-6 against Fernandez with a homer.

Miami's offensive woes away from home don't affect Christian Yelich, the second-year outfielder. Yelich leads the Marlins in hitting (.333) and OBP (.407), and is 8-22 in road games. He also has three stolen bases among their seven successful attempts, so they're not much of a running team. Yelich and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria are the only .300 hitters away from home for the Marlins.

The Braves handled the Marlins to the tune of a 13-6 record in 2013, but were only 5-4 against them in Atlanta. Should the above trends continue, the Marlins are going to have a miserable three days against Teheran, Wood, and Harang.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Monday, April 21, 7:10 p.m. ET

Julio Teheran (ATL)

2-1 W-L, 1.93 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 1.93 BB/9

Tom Koehler (MIA)

2-1 W-L, 1.89 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.74 K/9

Tuesday, April 22, 7:10 p.m. ET

Alex Wood (ATL)

2-2 W-L, 1.67 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.43 K/BB

Jose Fernandez (MIA)

2-1 W-L, 2.66 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 5.5 K/BB

Wednesday, April 23, 12:10 p.m. ET

Aaron Harang (ATL)

3-1 W-L, 0.70 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .110 Opp. BA

Nate Eovaldi (MIA)

1-1 W-L, 3.55 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.2 K/9

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