The Atlanta Braves laid the lumber on the Miami Marlins on Friday night, as the Braves opened up their three-game series with a convincing win. The Marlins did what they do best, act as a punching bag for the opposition. After snapping a four-game losing streak against the Indians, they got right back to losing with a 7-2 loss Friday night.
It was a nice win by the Braves after getting walloped by the Padres, 11-2. They were losers in two of three against the Padres, so it was nice to get back into the win column and start a series out correctly. This is an inferior opponent, so the Braves should be able to handle business in Miami and move on to bigger things.
The Braves enter Saturday with a record of 16-16, while the Marlins are drowning in the NL East with a record of 9-22. The Marlins weren’t expected to compete this season, not by a long shot. I think the objective is not to embarrass themselves and look towards the future.
It’s hard to do for a lot of Marlin fans, who have to look at Christian Yelich putting up mega numbers in Milwaukee with the Brewers. And looking at some of the monster contracts out there, Yelich is pretty cheap in comparison for the type of production he is churning out.
Instead, the Marlins are at the bottom of the league offensively and continually struggle to score runs. The pitching hasn’t been a marquee element of their team, either. We will never know with what would have happened with Jose Fernandez, but it’s almost a lock to say he’d be on another team right now making a lot of money. The Marlins are hoping to develop Trevor Richards, who will get the call today. Richards is moving slowly after posting an ERA of 4.42 as a rookie. Showing signs of improvements is key, though we haven’t seen it yet out of Richards. Head below for our free Braves vs. Marlins pick.
Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Caleb Smith has to be making the Marlins feel a little excited. Smith has been the best player on this team, as he has been torching hitters with an ERA of 2.00. He’s fifth on the depth chart in the rotation, but playing like the best. In comparison, Jose Urena who is currently No. 1 in the rotation has a 5.45 ERA.
Richards is in between Smith and Urena, but he is closer to Urena in that respect. He goes into this one against the Braves with an ERA of 4.64 in 33 innings of work. Richards had a couple of nice starts out of the gate, but has since struggled to get his pitching under control.
Note that Richards enters Saturday with a 7.80 ERA and .380 OBA in his previous three outings. He’s allowed 5 runs in two of his last three starts, which came against the Cubs and Phillies. The deep ball killed him in his last two games, as he got beat for 2 against the Nationals and 2 against the Phillies.
Braves’ hitters have only seen Richards in 18 at-bats, but they’ve made the most of it with a .500 batting average and .550 OBP. On top of that, he has yielded 2 long balls to the Braves. It hasn’t mattered much if Richards has been on the road or at home, as he owns a 4.70 ERA at home and 4.50 on the road.
He might have to improve tenfold than in his previous try against the Braves, because Mike Soroka has been making it long easy on the bump. In his first full season with the Braves, Sokora has come out firing, with an ERA of 1.62 and 1.14 WHIP. Across three outings, Sokora has allowed just 1 run in each of those games. The Diamondbacks, Reds, and Padres all had issues against Sokora, who made three starts a season ago. He made an impression on Braves’ brass and is making the most out of his chance in 2019.
Against the Marlins’ offense, expect Sokora to be able to have his way against them. Miami are in the very bottom of the league, with an average of just 2.87 runs scored per game. They’re the only team in the majors who hasn’t scored more than 3 runs per game. The price looks fairly expensive here at first look, but on second look, this should be more in the -200 range than what we’re getting today on the Braves.