Marlins vs. Braves Game 3
By: Willie Bee
It's a shame barely 18,000 fans bought tickets -- even fewer showing up -- for Tuesday's tangle between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves. But then, it's not rare for fans in the ATL who always have an excuse for not catching action at Turner Field, just as they will have reasons for not going to the new park out in the 'burbs when it opens.
Those who were on hand saw the best pitchers duel of the young campaign as Jose Fernandez and the Marlins scored a 1-zip victory over Alex Wood and the Braves. The contest barely took two hours, and Miami's win sets up a rubber match for the series-ender this afternoon (12:10 PM ET).
Given how they've been throwing the first few weeks of the season, we could be in store for another mound battle between Nate Eovaldi of the Marlins and Atlanta's Aaron Harang. MLB odds for the clash see the Braves as -150 to -160 chalk, and what began as an 8 run total at one shop is now down to 7 at some locations.
Marlins Head To NY to
Face Mets After Series
Eovaldi has put up some solid numbers in four starts, sporting a 1.14 WHIP and 23:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a little more than 25 innings, but only has one dubya to his credit while the Marlins split the contests. That KBB ratio is a significant improvement for the Houston native after starting the season with a career 179:107 mark.
His first assignment vs. the Braves in 2014 will be his seventh career start against them, and sixth at Turner Field. While he's just 1-1 in those contests, Eovaldi has been tough on the Atlanta lineup with a lifetime 2.19 ERA, holding Braves hitters to a .208 average.
Braves Strike Gold
With Signing Of Harang
What a pick up Harang has been for the Braves. Released by the Indians during spring training, he caught on with Atlanta and is off to the best start of his career through four outings. Harang has allowed just two runs and nine hits -- 0 HR -- in his nearly 26 innings of work, and tossed seven no-hit innings in New York last Friday.
Harang is facing the Marlins for the first time since Aug. 2012 when he was with the Dodgers, taking the loss in that matchup with 5.1 IP and a pair of homers allowed.
Most of the time a matinee is scheduled for the final game of a series, it's because one team has a long trek to get to its next destination for a match the following day. But that's not the case with this one as both the Marlins and Braves have Thursday off.
What's not a mystery is how Miami's offense has run into a roadblock here in Atlanta. The Marlins entered the series averaging nearly five runs per game, and have managed to score just three in two games vs. Braves pitchers. I'll bite on the 'under' for my free MLB pick.
My pick: Marlins-Braves Under 7.5
Marlins vs. Braves Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Several intriguing pitching matchups dot Tuesday's card, but for my money, the best takes place in Atlanta where the Braves and Miami Marlins continue their 3-game series at Turner Field.
Young hurlers square off in the 7:10 PM (ET) contest as Miami pits Jose Fernandez against Atlanta's Alex Wood. The Braves are chalked in the -125 to -135 range on the MLB odds, and a 6.5 run total that leans 'under' awaits baseball bettors who prefer to play the scoreboard figure.
Marlins Unable To
Deliver Big Hit In Game 1
Every lineup is struggling against Atlanta pitchers who lead the majors with a 2.32 ERA. But Miami had its chances Monday night with a lot of traffic on the basepaths only to go 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Fernandez got belted around in his only road start of the season, chased four batters into the fifth at Philadelphia on April 11 to take the loss in a 6-3 decision. Last year's NL Rookie of the Year followed that up vs. Washington with seven innings, 10 strikeouts and three runs allowed -- all unearned. He left that game with the score knotted before his bullpen gave the Nats the victory.
He was also a much better pitcher last season at home than on the road, though he did pitch well in his lone appearance at Turner Field. Fernandez took a 2-1 loss with six innings and eight strikeouts, Freddie Freeman's 2-run blast in the first the difference.
Bullpen Concerns For The Braves
Wood has pitched much better than his 2-2 record would indicate. The lefty has allowed one run in three starts and two runs in the other, the defeats coming by 1-0 and 2-1 scores. He has racked up 24 strikeouts in 27 innings, walking seven and surrendering three long balls.
The former Georgia Bulldog saw the Fish four times during his rookie campaign, two out of the 'pen and two more as the starter. Both starts came in Atlanta, and one was ugly with a capital U (2.1 IP, 7 ER) as the Braves fell 7-0. He blanked the Marlins over six innings in the other, but didn't figure into the decision, a 1-0 Atlanta loss.
Atlanta starters have turned in 16 quality assignments in 19 tries, and are well out in front of every other rotation with a 1.52 ERA. But the bullpen is way back in the MLB pack sporting a 4.26 ERA, and the biggest concern right now is closer Craig Kimbrel who has been off in his last two appearances following some rest due to a sore shoulder.
Showers are in Atlanta's forecast on Tuesday, with the weatherman suggesting a 20% chance in the evening. Doug Eddings is next in line to work home plate for this umpiring crew, and all three of his dish assignments in 2014 have stayed 'under' the total. I'm going the opposite direction with my free MLB pick with a play on the 'over.'
My pick: Marlins-Braves Over 6.5 (+105)
Marlins vs. Braves Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Winless on the road in their one and only trip away from Miami, the Marlins will try and end that streak against the division-leading Atlanta Braves when the NL East foes begin a 3-game series Monday.
If the string of defeats outside of Florida is going to stop at six for Miami, the streak-buster will be as decided underdogs for Game 1 (7:10 PM ET). Tom Koehler is up next in the rotation for the Marlins who are getting around +165 on the moneyline. Julio Teheran is set for the Braves who are priced in the low-to-mid -180s.
Scoreboard bettors are making a decision on a 7 run total, SBR's live MLB odds listing -120 for a consensus to the high side of that number.
Considering the Marlins were born during the heyday of the Braves' juggernaut in the 90's, it's not surprising to find this series rather one-sided over the years. Atlanta holds a 199-140 all-time advantage vs. the South Beach club, and has won the season series 15 of the 21 years.
The Braves are 50-23 the past four seasons, and 24-12 at Turner Field where they've won 10 of the last 13 collisions. 'Over' wagers cashed five of the nine in Atlanta a year ago, along with a push.
Fish Sweep Mariners
To End Homestand
Miami (9-10, -1.6 units) hits the road off a 4-2 homestand this past week, brooming the Seattle Mariners out of town with two of those wins coming in the Marlins' final at bat. Offense has not been an issue so far with a 4.95 RPG mark second in the NL behind Colorado. The Marlins also rank seventh in the Senior Circuit with a 3.62 ERA.
It's not often that you hear about a SUNY alum taking the hill for a start in the majors. In fact, the last time an alumnus from Stony Brook started an MLB game before Koehler made his first one at the end of the 2012 season, it was Joe Nathan breaking the cherry as the only Seawolves pitcher to have ever started a game in the major leagues way back in his San Francisco days (2000).
All kidding aside, Koehler has been the best arm in manager Mike Redmond's rotation so far. All have been quality assignments, and he has been long-ball stingy with Washington's Jayson Werth the only hitter to take Koehler deep in 19 innings. Five career appearances -- 2 starts -- vs. the Braves have seen the Bronx native pitch to a 3.86 ERA in 14 innings.
Braves Return Home
Following Successful Road Trip
While the Marlins were going 4-2 at home last week, Atlanta (12-6, +6.6 units) was putting together a 4-2 trek that took the Braves through Philadelphia and New York. A wild pitch in the 14th inning Sunday cost the Braves a chance of sweeping the Mets.
Teheran won honors for Atlanta's Opening Day start after a splendid spring in which he posted a 1.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 25 innings. So far, he has looked every bit like a staff ace with the Braves 3-1 in his assignments while Teheran pitched to a 1.93 ERA.
The Colombian also proved his mettle last season when taking on the Marlins. Atlanta cashed in three of his four starts, Teheran posting a 2.84 ERA in those 25.1 frames.
Miami has been a friend to 'over' bettors so far (12-6-1 O/U/P), while the Braves (7-10-1) have leaned to the 'under.' I'm tempted to take the underdog Marlins in the opener, but will ride the totals trend with a free pick on the high side of that figure.
MLB Pick: Marlins-Braves Over 7 (-120)
Season: 18-17 (+0.15)