Injuries have plagued the Atlanta Braves all year long. Despite season-ending injuries to veteran pitchers and valuable bench players, the Braves have managed to win games, a lot of games, and are sitting comfortably atop the NL East with a 13 game lead over the Washington Nationals.
The Miami Marlins have had fewer injuries, but have struggled as they’ve been trying to rebuild and get some stability to their pitching rotation. The rotation is much better, and despite dealing with continued struggles offensively, their pitching staff is young, healthy, and pitching pretty well. One of their best pitchers is rookie Jose Fernandez, and the Braves will have to face his prowess in game 1 of the series.
Miami will be in town tonight at Turner field to begin another three game series, and these teams are intimately familiar with each other, having played already 12 times, with Atlanta having won 8 of the 12 so far. With Jose Fernandez on the mound, Miami stands a great chance of making Atlanta’s record against them 8 of 13.
Fernandez is heavily in the running for NL Rookie of the year, sporting an impressive mark of 10-5, with a 2.30 ERA. He’ll be trying to do something no rookie has done in Miami since Dontrelle Willis had his amazing eight game streak in 2003. In his last eight outings, Fernandez has a scant 1.33 ERA and has struck out 66 batters in 54 innings. That kind of pitching earned him NL player of the week for a 2nd time, and cemented his run toward a possible ROY award.
Facing Fernandez in game 1 will be one of Atlanta’s own high-powered rookies in Julio Teheran (10-7, 3.08). While Teheran may not be having the same blazing start Fernandez has had, Julio has been no slouch on the rubber either. Even though he struck out eight batters, Teheran was roughed up considerably in his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing four runs, two homers, and a season-high five walks in a 6-2 loss. Prior to that outing though, Teheran had been mostly stellar, going 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA over his previous six starts. He will be looking to get back on track tonight.
Game 1 – Friday, 7:30 PM EST
Atlanta: Julio Teheran (10-7, 3.08 ERA)
Miami: Jose Fernandez ( 10-5, 2.30 ERA)
Game 2 – Saturday, 7:10 PM EST
Game 3 – Sunday 5:00 PM EST
Atlanta: Alex Wood (3-2, 2.27 ERA)
Miami: Nate Eovoldi (2-5, 3.76 ERA)
If Fernandez has been great, then Alex Wood is another rookie who has performed well above what any scouts thought he would. His 3-2 record doesn’t show represent his command well, but his 2.27 ERA does, and Wood is pitching often like a seasoned veteran. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Braves, stepping up and filling in relief roles when injuries plagued the Braves early, and now in the starting rotation when another major injury reared its ugly head.
The Braves will be without the services of Justin Upton tonight. Justin was hit on the hand by a pitch in last evening’s game, and while the x-rays returned negative, Fredi and Co. are taking no chances with the veteran outfielder.
Dan Uggla came off Lasik surgery, did 2 rehab games in AAA, and was put right back in the lineup for the Braves. In six at-bats, the 2nd baseman has gone just 1 for 6 for a dismal .167 BA.