Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves: Three stories to watch

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 03: Right fielder Nick Markakis
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 03: Right fielder Nick Markakis /

Off the field punches keep coming, but on the field, the Fish keep fighting. Can the Miami Marlins keep things rolling against the Braves?

In a lot of ways, it’s a tough time to be a Miami Marlins fan.

The front office seems committed to at least saving money, and possibly rebuilding. Injuries keep piling up, and with the exception of JT Riddle, all to players who already carry big 2018 price tags. Jeffrey Loria still owns the team. So there’s plenty of cause to turn your attention to your fantasy football drafts, and away from baseball.

Except the Miami Marlins just seem to keep winning.

Can they keep things rolling against the slumping but still arch-nemesis Atlanta Braves? That’s the big question heading into this weekend. What stories should you watch for? From some impressive streaks, to the play at first base, to a possible preview of the 2018 starting rotation, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in.

Surging Marlins approaching some milestones

Three months ago, the Miami Marlins were 12-16. Two days after that was the last time they were four games under .500.

It’s been that kind of year.

But a win Friday night, and more to the point a win in the series, would be rare air for Miami in this 2017 season. Hoping for a Marlins sweep of the Braves in Atlanta is crazy on many levels, but two out of three should be well within reach for the only NL East team with a winning record over their past ten games. That would cement Miami into holding their best record since early May, and officially breath life into the hopes that the Marlins could still pull off a winning record.

More than just climbing up the standings though, a series win here would officially make this the best series winning streak since September 2015. After that, you’re going back to 2012 to find anything remotely comparable. Five straight series wins is just not a common thing.

Really hoping the Marlins give me a reason to do the research on the last time they won six.

Who’s On First? 

The last time Justin Bour was on the DL this season, there were fans out there that thought the Miami Marlins had a full-blown first base controversy on their hands.

Not so much this time.

Tyler Moore has struggled, and Tomas Telis has been straight up pointless since Bour went down. Conversely, the Marlins have enjoyed plenty of Derek Dietrich heroics since he took over for Martin Prado. And Miguel Rojas has been more than solid at short, virtually locking up a starting job somewhere to the left of first base in 2018.

Really, everyone has been swinging the bat well. Except for whoever is on first base. At some point, somebody is going cool off. Keep an eye out this weekend for any sign that someone on the current roster is going to step up and provide that spark.

Marlins pitching showcase this weekend? 

Last up, let’s take a moment to think about that 2018 Miami Marlins starting rotation. Because you could very easily be watching the top three members of it take the mound this weekend at Not Turner Field Anymore Park.

Adam Conley, Dan Straily, and Jose Urena have all flashed plenty of talent this season. Straily has at times looked outright dominant, worthy of a No. 2 or No. 3 spot in most of the league’s rotations. Obviously, No. 3 would be ideal. Just as obviously, he’s currently Miami’s No. 1 arm.

How this group performs for the rest of the 2017 season will go a long way towards determining the direction the front office might take next season. Personally, if you bookend that group with an ace free agent and Wei-Yin Chen, I wouldn’t exactly be upset. Provided we keep seeing the Adam Conley we’re used to seeing, and not that train wreck that showed up the first two months of the season.

Next: What To Make Of Worley

That’s all for this series Marlin Maniacs. Catch you next week when the Marlins try something new and play the Nationals.