The Miami Marlins’ return home was a productive one as the Fish completed a 4-2 homestand with a sweep of the Seattle Mariners. Miami improved to 9-4 at Marlins Park this season, but will once again hit the road where the Fish have yet to win in 2014.
The Marlins will begin a six-game road trip in Atlanta on Monday to take on the Braves. While Miami swept Seattle over the weekend, the Braves took two of three from the New York Mets. Atlanta took the first two games, but fell 4-3 in 14 innings on Easter Sunday.
Miami and Atlanta will become quite accustomed to one another over the next week and a half as the teams meet six times over the next 11 days. Atlanta will pay its first visit to South Florida for a three-game series beginning next Tuesday.
Atlanta is off to a hot start this season and much of that is due to the starting pitching. Aaron Harang, Alex Wood, Julio Teheran and Ervin Santana all have sub-2.00 ERAs this season. Harang’s 0.70 ERA is tops in the National League with teammate Santana not far behind with an 0.86 ERA. Miami will only see Santana in Turner Field this series.
For the Braves offensively, first baseman Freddie Freeman leads in virtually every category. Freeman and Justin Upton each have five home runs to lead the club. Freeman’s .397 batting average currently ranks third in the National League.
The Miami Marlins head to Atlanta in fourth place in the National League East. With a record of 9-10, the Marlins are 3.5 games back of the Braves in the division, but can cut into the lead by winning the series at Turner Field. At 12-6, the Braves sit atop the N.L. East with the third best record in all of baseball. Atlanta leads the Washington Nationals by a game and a half in the division.
The Marlins and Braves will kick off the series at Turner Field with a pair of night games before concluding the series with an early game on Wednesday. The teams met 19 times a season ago with the Braves taking 13 of the match-ups. Miami however, was better against the Braves at Turner Field, going 4-5.
Stanton’s Slam Lifts Marlins
Miami’s recent series with Seattle had no shortage of fireworks and never was that more true than on Friday night. With the game tied at four, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate with the bags full in the bottom of the ninth inning. Facing Yoervis Medina, Stanton took a pitch over the left-center field wall to give Miami an 8-4 victory. Stanton’s shot marked the second walk-off grand slam of his career. The first came against the New York Mets on Mother’s Day back in 2012. Stanton’s blast now has the Miami outfielder tied for the National League lead in home runs. With 26 RBIs on the young season, Stanton has six more than any other player in baseball.
Alvarez Goes the Distance
Miami Marlins’ starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez closed the 2013 season with a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers, but had struggled to open 2014. In Saturday’s 7-0 win over the Mariners, Alvarez went the distance for the second time in five starts throwing a two-hit, complete game shutout. Alvarez took a perfect game into the sixth inning before a Dustin Ackley lead-off single broke it up. The Mariners would not get their second hit until the ninth inning. Alvarez was able to complete the game with just 90 pitches and finished with four strikeouts. Alvarez picked up his first victory of the season while becoming the first Marlins’ starter to go the distance in 2014.
Monday – Tom Koehler (MIA) 2-1, 1.89 ERA vs. Julio Teheran (ATL) 2-1, 1.93 ERA
Tuesday – Jose Fernandez (MIA) 2-1, 2.66 ERA vs. Alex Wood (ATL) 2-2, 1.67 ERA
Wednesday – Nathan Eovaldi (MIA) 1-1, 3.55 ERA vs. Aaron Harang (ATL) 3-1, 0.70 ERA