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Newcomb, Braves kick off final series with Marlins

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Starting a four-game set in Miami.

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves completed a timely sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday evening and that provides a three-game cushion in the NL East standings as Thursday arrives. While that may not seem wild on the surface, it is a far cry from the feeling after a four-game disaster against Colorado and, in short, the Braves appear to be in quite a favorable position at the moment.

With that said, the Miami Marlins will aim to play spoiler over the weekend, as Atlanta travels to south Florida to face off with a divisional rival for the final time this season. On paper, the Braves should be happy to see the Marlins, as Atlanta holds a 12-3 advantage in the season series and Miami represents an “easy” match-up when compared to the rest of the 2018 schedule.

However, games aren’t played on paper and this is a “taking care of business” spot for Atlanta. In the opener, the Braves will send Sean Newcomb to the rubber and the left-hander isn’t exactly in a groove at the moment. Over the past two starts, Newcomb has allowed 12 earned runs over 9.1 innings and that comes along with 21 hits and five walks.

Obviously, Newcomb is much more talented than those numbers would indicate but it will be interesting to see how the 25-year-old fares against a lineup that isn’t overly imposing. Moreover, the Braves have been operating with a short-handed bullpen for some time and Newcomb eating innings would be a pleasant outcome.

The Marlins will deploy 23-year-old right-hander Elieser Hernandez in this spot and he has worked primarily out of the bullpen this season. In 26 appearances (five starts), he owns a 5.08 ERA and Hernandez grades out as a sub-replacement level player according to FanGraphs at this juncture.

That sound you hear is Braves Country lamenting the presence of an anonymous pitcher for the opposition, as that often seems to lead to disaster for Atlanta’s offense. Still, Hernandez appears to be quite hittable and the Braves enter this particular game as a sizable Las Vegas favorite, even on the road, as a result.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Time/Date: Thursday, August 23, 7:10 pm ET

Location: Marlins Park

TV: Fox Sports South (Streaming: Fox Sports Go)

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, 106.7 FM Braves Radio Network