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Series Preview: Braves At Marlins

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After getting the best of the Marlins in Atlanta last week, the Braves have an opportunity to do it all over again, this time down on South Beach.

Chris Trotman

Just one week after these teams squared off for a weekend series in Atlanta, the Braves and Marlins are going to do it again for 3 games, this time in Miami. Yep, welcome to the end of the season , where it's filled with divisional matchups and a random trip to Texas. That's September for you.

So, how did Miami fare earlier this week when they hosted the Mets? Well, just like the Braves, they dropped a series at home against a team that they're ahead of in the standings, as New York came into Marlins Park and took 2 out of 3. The Marlins are 4-9 since August 20th, and whatever small playoff hopes they had have dimmed significantly since then.

So, did you like the pitching matchups when these two met last week? If so, then you'll probably be happy to know that the first two games of this series will have the exact same pitching matchups as last week. Friday night's contest will see Aaron Harang start for the Braves against Jarred Cosart, who completely shut down the Braves last Saturday. In addition, he's got a scoreless streak of 13 innings going aganst Atlanta. The bright side is that Cosart is a slightly better pitcher on the road than he is at home (4.11 ERA/3.67 FIP at home, 3.51 ERA/3.79 FIP away), so maybe the Braves will have better luck tonight against the young twirler for the Marlins.

Saturday night's matchup will also be a repeat pitching matchup, and it figures to be the marquee matchup of the series: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Alex Wood. Although Nathan Eovaldi pitched extremely well that day, his only mistake ended up costing him the game, as a solo homer from Evan Gattis ended up being all the Braves needed for victory. That was because Alex Wood did this:

This will be the 6th time Eovaldi has encountered the Braves this season, and if his last appearance is any ndication, Eovaldi seems to be getting very comfortable with facing the Braves. Here's hoping that he doesn't get too comfortable in Miami on Saturday.

Sunday's matchup as of the time that I'm writing this is still an unsolved mystery. We do know that Julio Teheran is starting the game, and the Marlins have had little success against Teheran this season. Teheran's made 3 starts against the Marlins, and the Braves have won 2 of those games, and Teheran held the Marlins to 1 run in a game that the Marlins eventually won. Teheran's been an extremely tough opponent for the Marlins, and if that continues then it's pretty obvious that the Braves should be in good shape for Sunday.

The mystery is that the Marlins haven't announced who their starter is for Sunday. They have said that Tom Koehler will be starting on Monday against the Brewers, but still no word on who they're giving the ball to on Sunday afternoon. Maybe they're planning to take the day off to watch football while forfeiting the game so that the Braves can get a win? In an ideal world where everything goes right for Atlanta, yes. In the real world where there's nothing but sadness and cynicism? Probably not, but I wouldn't expect an ace to show up on Sunday.

Not much has changed in the week that's passed since these two last met. Giancarlo Stanton is still a monster, Casey McGehee is still steadily productive, and Christian Yelich is still continuing to establish himself as a really good Major League ballplayer in his first full season as a starter. Hopefully, Donovan Solano is done being a pest (and considering that he went 3-13 in the Mets series, that might be the case) and the Braves can continue to worry about those guys instead of having to worry about a Random Dude showing up to bite them again. Then again, considering how the Braves offense wasn't exactly a dynamo during last week's series, maybe we should be hoping that the offense that showed up yesterday makes the trip to Miami.  This is what the Braves season has come to, as far as the bats are concerned: Hoping that the offensively-inclined Dr. Hyde version of the Braves stays around longer than that Mr. Jekyll squad who seems to have a hole in their bats.

Either way, this is a series that the Braves have got to win (just as they all are when you're in a playoff race) if they want to be serious about this whole "Postseason" thing. With the Brewers floundering about, this is the perfect time for Atlanta to start hardening their grip on the 2nd and final Wild Card spot. Another series victory over the Marlins would be a good place to start and it would be a nice bounce-back after a couple of disappointing losses against the Phillies.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Friday, September 5th at 7:10 PM EST

Aaron Harang (ATL): 10-9, 3.64 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 4.18 xFIP
Vs.
Jarred Cosart (MIA): 3-1, 1.64 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 82.4% LOB%

Saturday, September 6th at 7:10 PM EST

Alex Wood (ATL): 10-10, 2.92 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 0.87 HR/9
Vs.
Nathan Eovaldi (MIA): 6-10, 4.19 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 0.63 HR/9

Sunday, September 7th at 1:10 PM EST

Julio Teheran (ATL): 13-10, 2.90 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 8.1% HR/FB %
Vs.
TBA (MIA)