After taking 2 out of 3 last week against the Marlins, the Braves will be facing their Floridian rivals for the 2nd time in two weeks. This time, the series will take place in the land of rave green outfield walls, nightclubs, and the Fishstravaganza, as the Marlins will host the 3-game series against the Braves to close out April.
So far, the Marlins are currently 11-14, which is definitely a very respectable record for them considering their expectations for the rest of the season. The biggest of all the reasons for their decent enough start is the fact that their offense, which was projected to be anemic at best, has in fact NOT been anemic. In fact, they're currently in the Top 7 in the National League of AVG (.255), OBP (.325), SLG (.386), wOBA (.316), and wRC+ (100). Granted, it's still not murderer's row or anything like that, but that'll do a job. As predicted, the outfielders have been leading the way at the top of their lineup, with Giancarlo Stanton doing the heavy lifting with a statline of .270/.348/.550 with 7 HRs and 141 wRC+. Marcell Ozuna's hitting .303/.363/.457 with 3 HRs and 133 wRC+, while Christian Yelich has a line of .292/.364/.365 with 111 wRC+ and four stolen bases. Add in Jarrod Saltalamacchia's start to the season, and that's not shabby at all. However, this brigade only scored 1 run in the Braves series, but the Marlins as a whole have been pretty bad on the road, compiling a road record of 2-10 so far.
At home, it's a completely different story, as the Marlins are currently 9-4 in The House That Loria Somehow Got Built. In home games, Marlins pitching has limited the opposition to 2 runs or less in 6 of those 13 games. Naturally, Jose Fernandez had a hand in 2 of those performances. The Braves clearly know what this guy can do as evidenced by the 14 strikeouts he recorded against them last Tuesday, and they'll be seeing the Marlins ace again for Game 1 of this series. Alex Wood will be taking the mound as well, so this will be a very interesting rematch of last week's Strikeout-A-Mania. Nathan Eovaldi limited the Braves to 1 run in his start against them, and the righty with an ERA of 2.87 and FIP of 2.16 will look to do the same on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Braves will see Henderson Alvarez for the first time in 2014. In 5 starts, Alvarez has an ERA of 2.73 and a FIP of 3.22, and in his last home start, he nearly threw a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, and instead had to settle for a 2-hit Complete Game Shutout. So yeah, looks like the Braves have picked a pretty nice time to visit Marlins Park!
With that being said, the Braves had a fantastic time in Miami last season, as they won 8 out of 10 games at Marlins Park last season, and won most of them handily. Plus, the Braves' pitching won't be too shabby at all, as Wood, Ervin Santana, and Aaron "I Can't Believe I'm Pitching This Well" Harang will all be taking the bump for Atlanta in this series. Plus, with the way that the Braves have been bopping the ball as of late, there's always a possibility that someone may hit the Fishstravaganza in center, like Dan Uggla did in 2012. I nearly jumped out of the gym like I was part of the Migos when this happened.
So, look for this to be a competitive series, as the Braves will definitely be getting the Marlins' best shot this week. The Braves have played well in this park though, and they're on a high so hopefully this will continue as the Braves enter May.
April 29th at 7:10 PM EST
Alex Wood (ATL)
2-3, 1.54 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 0.7 fWAR
Jose Fernandez (MIA)
3-1, 1.99 ERA, 1.50 FIP, 1.2 fWAR
April 30th at 7:10 PM EST
Aaron Harang (ATL)
3-1, 0.85 ERA (...dude), 2.23 FIP, 1.0 fWAR
Nathan Eovaldi (MIA)
1-1, 2.87 ERA, 2.16 FIP, 0.9 fWAR
May 1st at 7:10 PM EST
Ervin Santana (ATL)
3-0, 1.95 ERA, 1.85 FIP, 0.9 fWAR
Henderson Alvarez (MIA)
1-2, 2.73 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 0.4 fWAR