After Freddie Freeman was duly rewarded for his excellent play last week with the National League Player of the Week award and Julio Teheran led the Braves to a sweep of the Mets following a one-hit complete game shutout (obviously one of the best starts of his career), the Braves will be riding a wave of confidence into Miami to face the Marlins this week.
However, the Braves are going to have an extremely tough task on their hands today. They managed to get through a good 1-2-3 punch of a rotation in New York, but they’ll now have to face off against the monster that is Jose Fernandez in Marlins Park. Fernandez is a great pitcher, as evidenced by his 2.57 ERA, 2.00 FIP, 13.17 K/9 and 0.56 HR/9. The amazing part is his work at home, which is where he has an ERA of 2.06 and a FIP of 1.57. If he keeps this up, I think that the Marlins will eschew giving Marlins Park a corporate sponsor’s name in favor of just calling it Fernandez Park.
The vast amount of changes to the roster that the Braves have made as of late means that the only Braves batter who has a decent amount of experience against Jose Fernandez is Freddie Freeman. Freeman’s gone 5-15 against the Marlins ace with a home run, but he’s also struck out five times against Fernandez. Nearly everybody in baseball struggles against Fernandez, and that might be the case for the Braves this evening.
Meanwhile, Bud Norris will be taking the mound for Atlanta. Norris has done well to rebound from an extremely rough April and has been a decent starter for the Braves since his return to the rotation. I don’t think that anybody is expecting Norris to go toe-to-toe with Fernandez tonight, but the obvious hope is that he’ll be able to eat a few innings in order to keep the Braves in it while they try their best to get something off of Jose Fernandez.
The Braves have already matched their longest win streak of 2015 (which is when they started the season 5-0), so a sixth straight win would put this team in rarefied air as far as recent history is concerned. With that being said, it’ll be a huge challenge for them to make it to six straight since they’re facing Jose Fernandez in Marlins Park. Maybe we’ll see something wacky happen like from September of last year, but I think that we’ll probably be in for a low-scoring affair tonight.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 21st at 7:10 PM ET
Location: Marlins Park
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, 680 AM/93.7 FM