For the first time in the 2018 season, the Atlanta Braves will face the Miami Marlins on Thursday evening and, judging by the evidence available to this point, that is probably a good thing for the road team. Miami enters this particular contest with a 13-23 record and, in short, the struggles of the Marlins in the early going are not a surprise based on their roster construction and overall situation.
Still, baseball is not played on paper and, in the series opener, Brian Snitker will hand the ball to Mike Foltynewicz. The 26-year-old right-hander has been solid in seven starts this season, posting a 3.65 ERA (3.71 FIP) with more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings, but Foltynewicz also struggled mightily in his last outing.
On May 4 against the Giants, Foltynewicz allowed six runs against the Giants in a 9-4 loss and he was beat up to the tune of nine hits and two walks against only four strikeouts. On the bright side, it was the first “blow-up” start of the season for a pitcher with a reputation for doing just that but, in the same breath, it would be nice to see Foltynewicz right the ship in this spot against a less than impressive offense.
The Marlins will send left-hander Caleb Smith to the mound and he has been one of Miami’s better options this season. It will be interesting to see what the lineup looks like from Atlanta in this spot after back-to-back left-handed starts from Tampa Bay (and four in a row overall) but Smith is also quite hittable on paper and the Braves’ offense continues to function at a generally high level.
With the Braves entering the weekend in first place, four games against the Marlins should, in theory, do nothing to take away from that upward trajectory. Atlanta can get things off to a strong start and, in conjunction, build a three-game winning streak with a win in the opener.
Time/Date: Thursday, May 10, 7:10 pm ET
Location: Marlins Park
TV: FOX Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, 106.7 FM Braves Radio Network