After suffering a rare home sweep at the hands of
the Milwaukee Brewers, the Marlins look to get back on track when the host the
Atlanta Braves in the opener of a three-game series at Sun Life Stadium.
Marlin rookie Brad Hand will make his major league
debut while the Braves will counter with Tommy Hanson who opened in the MLB
odds as a -145 favorite with the total unmoving at 7.5. First pitch is set for
7:10 PM ET.
is a key series on several fronts. Florida (31-27) will be out to snap a
five-game losing streak and take over sole possession of second-place in the
National League Eastern Division. Atlanta (32-28) will be trying to get back in
the win column after losing the final two games of their series against the
Mets in New York.
importance of every interdivision series in the East is magnified due to the
Phillies starting rotation. You may beat one of their ‘Big Four’ and you might
even sweep them if the stars align right. But Philly was built to avoid long
losing streaks and that means the teams behind them have an added urgency to
Marlins and Braves begin the night four games behind the first-place Phillies and
both teams could use some help offensively. Atlanta is 23rd in the
league in both runs per game (3.83) and hitting (.243). Florida is 17th
in the same two categories averaging 4.12 RPG while batting .251.
Sanchez leads the Fish with a .316 average and 38 RBI’s while Mike Stanton has
a team high 13 homers. The Braves have relied heavily on the bats of Brian
McCann and Martin Prado. McCann is hitting a team high .301 while Prado leads
with eight homers and 38 runs batted in.
Uggla returns to Miami in search of his stroke. He swatted 33 home runs and
drove in 105 runs in 2010 as a member of the Marlins but is slumping badly in
his first season with the Braves. The All-Star second baseman is hitting .172
with seven homers and 16 runs batted and in his last 18 games is 5 for 60 (.083).
21-year old Hand becomes the latest MLB rookie to jump from Double-A to the big
leagues. He won his last four starts at Jacksonville earning the promotion to
Florida where he’ll become the first lefthander to start for the Fish this
out of their slide won’t be easy for the Marlins especially against Hanson who
is 6-4 with a 2.82 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander hasn’t been at his best the past three starts (1-1, 4.32) allowing
eight runs in 16 2/3 earnings. However he was 2-0 in May and had three
victories in April including a 5-0 shutout of Florida. In that game Hanson
twirled seven innings and allowed just four hits. He’s got a career record of
4-1 and a 2.64 ERA vs. the Marlins and has held opposing batters to a league low
.170 batting average over his past seven outings.
the first series meeting, Florida took two out of three in Atlanta with Hanson
getting the lone victory.
Braves are without two of their key players with outfielders Nate McClouth and
Justin Heyward both on the disabled list. McClouth has a strained oblique while
Heyward injured his shoulder in a game against the Anaheim Angels on May 22.
Marlins will be without shortstop Hanley Ramirez who was placed on the DL with
a strained back. Even though Ramirez is hitting just .210, Florida is 1-6
($-543) in games he’s missed.
The weather at SLS for this matchup is calling for partly
cloudy skies and temperatures in the 70’s. There’s a 10 percent chance of rain
with winds of 16 miles per hour blowing out of the East. That seems appropriate
for a crucial series in the East.