Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves: Three stories to watch

Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Time and again in 2016, the Miami Marlins saw a chance to do something special derailed by the Atlanta Braves.

Tonight in Atlanta, we get to find out if the 2017 edition of the Miami Marlins can finally reverse that trend.

This series, the first in shiny new Sun Trust Park, is a tricky one. On the one hand, it’s looked at on paper as one of those series against a lesser opponent that the Marlins need to win. Atlanta remains a rebuilding team, below .500 and projected to finish at the bottom of the standings.

But on the other, it’s the Braves.

Miami went 7-11 against them last year, and is only 2-3 so far in 2017. The wins never come easy against this particular NL East rival, recently or historically. It doesn’t help that they just outscored the Nationals 34-17 in Washington. Their offense is clicking, and the Marlins will counter with one of their top three starting pitchers.

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So not only does the club need to contend without overlooking Atlanta, they also need to be able to avoid letting the Braves get into their heads. It’s an interesting balance, and I’ll admit it has this Marlins fan more than a little nervous. Even down one Marlins killer in Freddie Freeman, it’s still a dangerous lineup.

Win, and Miami gets to return home in position to make a real run at a .500 record by the All-Star Break. Heck, if the Marlins can sweep Atlanta this weekend, all they would need is a winning homestand to get back to break even.

But if they lose, we’re dealing with a team with no momentum facing seven games of elite competition with the Nationals and Cubs. The psychological stakes are high. As such, brace yourself for a rollercoaster of a series.

Without further ado, lets get to your three Miami Marlins stories to watch. From the hopefully triumphant return of a star first baseman, to a seeming mismatch on the mound, to a brand new ballpark, we’ve got you covered.

Time to dive in.