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Matt Joyce starts in right as Braves seek Miami sweep

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Nick Markakis grabs a day of rest in the finale

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Most of today’s Braves lineup for the 1:10 pm EDT start in Miami looks normal, with one exception: Matt Joyce is batting eighth and starting in place of Nick Markakis in right field.

This is the first time the Braves are using this lineup, or even this set of players, at their respective positions. Joyce has only made one start in right field earlier this season; this is the fifth time Markakis hasn’t made the starting lineup so far in 2019.

Joyce has been “Bench Nick Markakis” this year to some extent; he has a 125 wRC+ and 0.4 fWAR in 62 PAs, while Markakis is currently at a 100 wRC+ and 0.3 fWAR in 260 PAs. However, Joyce has benefited from a fair bit of batted ball luck so far (.369 wOBA on a .332 xwOBA), while Markakis has suffered from the reverse (.330 wOBA on a .350 xwOBA).

Tyler Flowers also grabs a second consecutive start. Flowers, who drove in the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly yesterday, will be starting against consecutive righties for the first time all year.

The Marlins are deploying their anti-lefty lineup, which they’ve used a couple of times this season so far. Austin Dean, Harold Ramirez, and Garrett Cooper all hit right-handed; in fact, Miami’s entire starting eight hits righty — not switch, but righty. The Braves won’t secretly deploy an opener this afternoon, but it’d be fun to see them try.

Only a few Marlins have faced Max Fried before: Jorge Alfaro (not in the lineup), Miguel Rojas, and Brian Anderson. Both Rojas and Anderson have only stood in against the southpaw a handful of times. Since this is the third time the Braves are facing Pablo Lopez this season, they’re fairly familiar with him. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Tyler Flowers both homered off of him in the same inning earlier this season; Acuña also took him deep last year. Brian McCann and Austin Riley are the only position players on the Braves’ active roster to have never batted against Lopez.