The Miami Marlins now have won 11 of 14 and just finished up a 5-game home-stand at 3-2. While the Marlins are starting to show improvement in their results, they are still far from where they want and need to be, in order to take the next step to be a playoff team. Over the course of the next two days, the Marlins will have their toughest test of the 2012 season to date.
The Marlins will be facing off with the Atlanta Braves for the first time in 2012. The Marlins have not had much success against the Braves in the past few seasons. The Marlins have gone just 13-23 over the past two seasons against their NL East foe. That can directly be attributed to the Marlins unsuccessful runs at the post season. To make the playoffs, you need to beat teams in your division, as those are the teams you play the most.
Hopefully the Marlins can turn their fortunes around and post a winning season vs the Braves, like they did in 2008 (10-8).
At the beginning of the season, you would have expected the Braves to be doing what the Marlins are doing, and the Marlins doing what the Braves are doing. The Braves enter this series with a middle of the pack pitching staff, but one of the top offenses in baseball. The Marlins meanwhile have struggled offensively, and are currently a top three team in the National league when it comes to pitching.
Miami Marlins (19-17) @ Atlanta Braves (23-14), May 16-17, (Games 37& 38)
NL East Standings
Stadium: Turner Field
Five-year Run PF*: .98
Five-year HR PF*: .98
Left field line—335 ft.
Center field—400 ft.
Right-center field—390 ft.
Right field line—330 ft.
*Five-year regressed park factors provided by Patriot here
Now we will take a look at the pitching match-ups for the quick and annoying, new two-game series, that everyone seems to despise.
Projected Pitching Matchup:
ZiPS In-Season Projections
Head to Head
|Earned Run Average||3.33||4.09|
|Opponent Batting Average||.247||.266|
via CBS Sports
- The Braves, like the Marlins, come into this series hot. The Braves have won 8 of their previous 11 games. The Marlins enter this series winners of 11 of their past 14.
- The Braves have outscored the Marlins 81-50, resulting in the Marlins 15 of 21 in this series dating to September 2010.
- The Marlins starting pitching has been on fire this month, they are 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA so far this month.
- Freddie Freeman is expected to return to the Braves lineup, after missing Tuesday’s game with a scratch on his right eye. Freeman is just 2-for-28 in his career vs the Fish.
- Last season, Dan Uggla hit four homers and drove in 10 runs in nine home games against the Marlins.
Mark Buehrle, LHP
Mike Minor, LHP
- Both pitchers in this contest pitch very quickly, so this game could be done in a very short time.
- Mark Buehrle has recording quality starts in all but one of his seven outings.
- Buehrle has won both his career starts against the Braves, while being a Chicago White Sox pitcher. Buehrle’s most recently start against the Braves was 4-2 victory June 23, 2010, in a game where he surrendered a pair of runs and nine hits over six innings.
- The Atlanta Braves as a team struggle against left handed pitchers, so Buehrle should hold a good advantage over the Braves hitters.
- Mark Minor has surrendered 21 runs – all earned – and seven homers over his last 16 innings, during which opponents are batting .377 against him.
- Minor, in his last start vs the Cardinals, yielded six runs, eight hits and was taken deep a career worst-tying three times.
- Giancarlo Stanton his 2-for-2 in his career against Minor, with two home runs. Hanley Ramirez is 2-for-2 as well with a home run and Logan Morrison is 3-for-5 with a home run as well. Former Brave, Omar Infante is just 1-for-6.
Game 1 Prediction:
The Miami Marlins offense will strike quickly in the first inning, scoring four runs, including a moon shot by Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins will add on a few more runs over the course of the game, and behind another quality start for Mark Buehrle, will take the first game of the 2012 season against the Atlanta Braves, 7-1.
- This should be a fun match-up as well. If Ricky is on, then this should be a very good pitchers dual, but if he is not, it should be a blowout in the Braves favor.
- Nolasco has had mixed success in his career vs the Braves. It can be argued that he had his best career start against the Braves in September of 2010, when struck out 16 Atlanta Braves hitters.
- Nolasco, uncharacteristically struggled with command in his previous start, walking three hitters in the first inning, after walking three in his previous three games combined, Nolasco also hit two batters.
- Nolasco will be going for sole possession of Miami’s career wins record, he is currently tied with Dontrelle Willis at 68.
- A lot of the Braves hitters have had success against Nolasco. With their bats being as hot as they are, this should be a concern for Marlins fans. Brian McCann has had the most success, with 6 home runs and 16 runs driven in.
- Brandon Beachy is the leader in Major League baseball in ERA right now and is proving to be a valuable starter in the big leagues.
- Beachy has strung together six successive quality starts, including his last start where he allowed one run over six innings, and even had a run scoring hit. The righty has given up two earned runs or fewer in all seven starts this season.
- Omar Infante and Giancarlo Stanton have had the most success off of Beachy, in eight at-bats each. Beachy has a 4.01 career ERA against the Fish in 24.2 innings.
Game 2 Prediction:
The Braves lineup will return to form and score 5 runs off of Nolasco in just five innings of work. Beachy, on the other hand, will hurl a complete game shutout. Limiting the Marlins to just four hits over the course of the game. The Braves and Marlins will split the two-game series with the Braves taking this game, 5-0.
May 18-20: @Cleveland Indians
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