After soundly beating the division rival Nationals in a three-game sweep over the weekend, the Atlanta Braves have continued their streak against the Marlins over the past two days. After taking the first two games of the series, Atlanta now aims for another sweep in Miami.
Earning the nod for Atlanta will be right-hander Charlie Morton, who owns an 11-4 record with a 3.49 ERA this season. Morton has been outstanding in August, with three starts this month that have each seen the veteran work six innings with a combined 2.00 ERA. He will look to carry that momentum into this matchup versus the Marlins, against whom Morton threw seven shutout innings with just two hits allowed on July 9th.
The Marlins will counter with newly-acquired left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who was dealt to Miami last month in exchange for outfielder Starling Marte. Since the deal, Luzardo has made three starts and allowed more than a run per inning while issuing at least three walks in each appearance. Once rated among the top prospects in baseball, Luzardo has seen his stock slip tremendously over the past two seasons. This was evident when Oakland shipped him to the Marlins in exchange for two months of Marte, but the talent remains. The Marlins simply hope they can aid Luzardo in his quest to rediscover success.
Luzardo will feature four offerings: sinker, four-seam fastball, changeup, and curveball, in descending order by usage. Both the sinker and four-seam fastball will sit mid-90’s, while the offspeed pitches will sit mid-80’s. Opponents have produced an xwOBA over .350 against three of those pitches, with the exception being the curveball, which has produced a .210 xwOBA against.
The Braves were held quiet by Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara on Tuesday, but managed to score two runs late to secure the win. Entering play tonight the offense still boasts some of the best numbers in the league this month, with especially impressive performances from Swanson, Riley, and Albies. Having those three playing well plus facing a vulnerable left-handed starter would seem to favor Atlanta. Can they finish off the sweep and continue their perfect road trip?
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, August 18, 7:10 p.m. ET
Location: loanDepot park, Miami, Florida
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network