National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, July 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Miami Marlins (30-52) at Atlanta Braves (49-34), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 3.93)
Atlanta - Mike Minor (8-3, 2.98)
(Sports Network) - Turner Field has been a house of horrors for visiting clubs
and that's why the Atlanta Braves have the best home mark in the majors.
The Braves look to stay dominant as the host when they target a series win
over the Miami Marlins Wednesday.
Atlanta has won four in a row at Turner Field, where it sports a 29-11 record
and posted an 11-3 win over the Marlins on Tuesday in the opener of this
three-game set. The Braves pounded out 16 hits and six players finished with
two or more. Justin Upton went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored,
Chris Johnson had three hits, two RBI and a pair of runs scored and Brian
McCann ended 3-for-5 with a pair of runs batted in.
"We're a team that's capable of scoring a lot of runs," Braves shortstop
Andrelton Simmons said. "It doesn't happen every day, but every once in a
while the offense opens up and puts a bunch of runs on the board. We can't
afford to let any games slip right now."
Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen moved closer to the .500 mark (6-7) and
allowed three runs in six innings for the win, Atlanta's fourth in a row and
sixth in seven tries.
The NL East-leading Braves, though, lost outfielder B.J. Upton in the second
innings because of muscle spasms in his left forearm and is day-to-day. The
issue was causing Upton's middle and ring fingers of his hand to lock up.
"He kept saying he couldn't open his hand," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez
said. "The muscle of the forearm, he just kept putting the two middle fingers
and clamping them and he couldn't open them, and it did that a couple of times
in the dugout when he came in when (assistant athletic trainer Jim Lovell) was
checking him, so we said forget it."
Atlanta, which is seven games ahead Washington in the NL East, will start a
six-game road trip later this week against Philadelphia and Miami.
Mike Minor is winless (0-1) in his last three starts and will get the nod
Wednesday for the Braves. Minor was 8-2 until his current drought and did not
record a decision in last Wednesday's 4-3 loss at Kansas City, as he permitted
three runs and nine hits in six innings.
Minor has allowed 11 runs over his winless stretch and is 8-3 in 16 starts to
go along with a 2.98 earned run average. The left-hander defeated Miami on the
road April 10 and threw 5 2/3 shutout innings in an 8-0 victory. Minor is 2-2
with a 4.35 ERA in eight career starts against the Marlins.
The Marlins had won eight of 10 games before Tuesday loss in which the bullpen
imploded after starter Tom Koehler allowed three runs -- two earned -- in the
first five innings. Dan Jennings was dealt the loss for giving up three runs,
Ryan Webb allowed a run and Kevin Slowey was reached for four runs.
"Today was a battle," Koehler said. "There were three innings in a row where
they led off with an extra-base hit. Any time that happens, you're putting
yourself behind the eight-ball. When that happens, you wind up wearing
yourself out trying to pitch past them."
Logan Morrison collected two hits and two RBI and Adeiny Hechavarria finished
3-for-3 for Miami, which opened a six-game trip on a sour note and fell to
12-28 away from Marlins Park.
Ricky Nolasco has endured a rough campaign and looks to get back on track
Wednesday for the Marlins. Nolasco is coming off another loss, his eighth of
the season, in last Friday's 9-2 decision versus San Diego. Nolasco allowed 11
hits, six runs -- five earned -- in five innings to fall to 4-8 in 17 starts
with a 3.93 earned run average.
Nolasco, who has given up 13 runs in his last four starts and is 1-3 in the
past four decisions, is just 1-3 in eight road assignments. The right-hander
has faced the Braves 23 times (22 starts) in his career and owns a 5-10 mark
with a 5.26 ERA against them.
The Braves swept a three-game set in Miami back in early April and are 18 1/2
games ahead of the last-place Marlins in the division. Atlanta has won the
last eight meetings with the Marlins, who went 4-14 in this series a season
07/03 10:22:01 ET