Sept 14, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Series Preview: Braves @ Marlins

After sweeping the Washington Nationals to relieve some worries after the early-week sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers, the Braves head to Miami for the last time this season for three games.  The Braves are still 5.5 games back with 15 games left, so the division isn’t likely, but still possible.

Game 1 – Monday 7:10 ET – Tim Hudson vs. Wade LeBlanc

Huddy has had essentially the same season as he did last year, except for a 4% drop in strikeouts, which has led to a 0.44 rise in ERA and FIP.  LeBlanc is a lefty who has a lot of trouble keeping left-handed hitters in the ballpark, allowing five homers in 64 PA.  Besides that, he has had some good fortune this year, as his 2.95 ERA far outpaces his 3.72 FIP and 4.68 xFIP.

Game 2 – Tuesday 7:10 ET – Paul Maholm vs. Nathan Eovaldi

Maholm has hit the skids the last three starts after excelling in his first month with Atlanta.  After starting the second half with eight straight sub-.300 BABIP starts, his last four starts are all above that mark, so balls have been finding holes in streaks.  Eovaldi has walked nearly as many batters as he’s struck out since arriving in Miami.  With his below-average GB rate, his 5.44 ERA is fairly indicative of his pitching skill at the moment.

Game 3 – Wednesday 7:10 ET – Kris Medlen vs. Josh Johnson

This is quite a matchup of talent, though their styles couldn’t be any more different.  Medlen’s dominance has been well-documented, with the increase in strikeouts really serving as the surprising platform.  Johnson has the fastball/slider mix, though his fastball has stayed down a couple ticks from his pre-injury days.  Despite that, he has put up a 3.35 FIP and 3.65 xFIP, which is still very good.

The Braves catch a break as Giancarlo Stanton will likely miss at least the first couple games of the series with some right oblique soreness.  With their only scary bat out of the lineup, Jose Reyes is the “can’t beat us” bat, though he’s down from last year’s rates.  Justin Ruggiano is coming down from his huge start, and catcher Rob Brantly has debuted in nice fashion, showing surprising plate discipline and power in his 75 PA.

Sept 14, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Since the beginning of June, the Marlins have been near the bottom of the league in the standings.  There hasn’t been much depth in the lineup and the bullpen, outside of new closer Steve Cishek, has been poor.  Two out of three should be the minimum expectation, while a sweep could put some additional pressure on Washington, as if they didn’t have enough to begin with.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided Miami Marlins

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