The Miami Marlins will play the Atlanta Braves a total of 10 times in 2020.
The Miami Marlins will face the Atlanta Braves on the road on July 21 and 22 as part of their tune-up for the 2020 regular season. Later, they’ll host a three-game set starting on August 14, then visit Atlanta for three starting September 7 and for four more starting on September 21. What can we expect to see from them?
The Atlanta Braves are coming off a 97-65 record and a National League East Division title. Going back to their roots in 1876, when they were known as the Boston Red Stockings, they’ve made it into the postseason a total of 26 times.
Four times the Braves or their predecessors claimed a World Series Championship. In 1892, the Boston Beaneaters went 5-0-1 against the Cleveland Spiders. In 1914, the Boston Braves defeated the Philadelphia Athletics in four straight. In 1957, the Milwaukee Braves topped the New York Yankees in seven games, and most recently, set down the Cleveland Indians in six back in 1995.
It may surprise some to know that the Florida and Miami Marlins have won two championships since the Braves have last taken the gold home, or that the Marlins have half the amount of titles as Atlanta despite being around only 27 seasons as opposed to 144 years.
All that’s academic, though. What do the Miami Marlins have to look forward to this season from the Braves?
The starting five seem to be Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz, Cole Hamels, and Sean Newcomb. There seems to be a possibility of the rotation being limited to three or four innings to start the season, with relievers stepping in to pitch the rest of the game.
"“We’ll see when we get there. But I’d be real surprised if we weren’t in the beginning doing the piggyback.” – Brian Snitker as quoted by Mark Bowman on MLB.COM."
The method will be familiar to fans of the Tampa Bay Rays, who utilized current Marlins reliever Ryne Stanek as an “opener” 56 times between 2018 and 2019.
In addition to what we already know, Kris Willis from Talking Chop weighed in with what we don’t:
"I think this will be the season that we see another steady influx of the Braves young starters. Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and Touki Toussaint could all play a part early on and there is an outside shot that top pitching prospect Ian Anderson could be in the mix at some point in 2020."
According to the fine folks over at lineups.com, the Braves batting order lines up thusly:
This batting order is led by a near 40-40 Acuna (41 home runs, 37 stolen bases in 2019), Freeman (38 homers, 121 RBI), and switch-hitter Albies (24 home runs, 86 RBI). Last year, all three had an OPS of .852 or better.
Now, with the recently acquired Yasiel Puig in the fold, the Braves have more options:
"It isn’t real clear who the Braves will utilize as their primary DH but they have a number of options in Marcell Ozuna, Austin Riley and the newly acquired Yasiel Puig. At this juncture I would bet that Ozuna gets the most at-bats at DH with Riley seeing a lot of time at third base. Still, the team has a lot of flexible options and can mix and match as needed. – Willis"
Grant Dayton, Shane Greene, Chris Martin, Darren O’Day, Kyle Wright will take on most of the day-to-day bullpen duties, with the “closer” role relegated to some combination of Luke Jackson and Mark Melancon. Jackson and Melancon had 18 and 11 saves in 2019, respectively.
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As I was searching through Getty’s Image database for Marlins/Braves pictures, it seems like in most of them, the Braves were celebrating. Not a good sign. If you remember, the Atlanta Braves were 15-4 against our Miami Marlins in 2019.Thi
What’s clear is that the Braves will not again take 15 from the good guys. The Braves are also poised to repeat as contenders, and if the Marlins can split the series overall I’d count that as a win. It’s more likely that Miami wins three or four of the 10 in total.
As for their overall records, Kris weighed in with one last thought in regards to the Braves and the Marlins:
"For the Braves I will peg them for somewhere between 35 and 38 wins which should be enough to win the division. I was looking forward to seeing the Marlins this season and I am intrigued by their number of good young players. I think they will be a better club but the talent in the NL East will hold them down to around 24 to 26 wins. – Willis"
This is an interesting question that I’m going to pose to each of the other three NL East blogs in the next few days. Would 35 wins be enough to claim the tough division? Doubtful, although 38 should put them solidly out front.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Kris Willis from the great Braves blog Talking Chop over at SB Nation. Check back tomorrow for a read on what the Baltimore Orioles have in store for the Marlins this season.