National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, August 2nd (All times eastern)
Miami Marlins (48-56) at Atlanta Braves (59-45), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Nathan Eovaldi (2-6, 3.94) Atlanta - Mike Minor (6-7, 5.18)
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves didn't lose any ground in the NL East race after having their seven-game winning streak broken, and target a series win this evening in the finale of a four-game set versus the Miami Marlins at Turner Field.
Atlanta was aiming for its eighth win in a row last night, but dropped a 4-2 decision when starting pitcher Ben Sheets suffered through his shakiest outing of the season. Sheets was 3-0 entering the game in his long return back to the majors and gave up four runs, three of which were earned, in 6 2/3 innings.
"It stinks when you're riding a long winning streak," Sheets said. "In the first inning, I gave them the momentum right out of the gate, the momentum we earned over seven games."
Paul Janish and Dan Uggla both had an RBI and Freddie Freeman collected three hits and a run scored for the Braves, who are still 2 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead. The Nationals dropped their second in a row to Philadelphia last night.
Atlanta will host Houston for three games over the weekend. The Braves are set to hand Mike Minor the ball this evening and he is 3-1 with a 2.78 earned run average in his last five starts. Minor is coming off one of the more impressive performances of the season and limited Philadelphia to a run and four hits with nine strikeouts and no walks over eight innings of Saturday's 2-1 victory.
Minor pulled himself one win from the .500 mark at 6-7 in 19 starts to go along with a pedestrian 5.18 ERA. The left-hander, who is 4-2 in nine appearances at Turner Field this season, has faced Miami three times this season, going 1-2 with a 4.86 ERA. Minor lost at Miami on July 23 and is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.
Miami hopes to earn a split of this series and won for the third time in five tries last night behind a solid performance from its pitching staff.
Wade Leblanc got the nod in place of the inconsistent Carlos Zambrano and did not record a decision with 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball. However, Zambrano came on in relief of Leblanc and recorded the win. Big Z struck out two and was reached for a run in 1 2/3 innings of work.
"Tough one. A very tough one," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We jumped out right away with three runs. It was a little different ballgame. It's a different ballgame when we score early, putting three runs on the board. We pitched better."
Carlos Lee, Greg Dobbs and Bryan Petersen each knocked in a run and Jose Reyes finished 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 19 games - one shy of matching his career high set in 2005 with the New York Mets. The Marlins were able to halt a seven-game road slide and haven't won back-to-back road games in almost a month.
Miami will head to Washington for four games after this series with Atlanta.
Nathan Eovaldi hopes the second start with the Marlins goes as smoothly as the first, as he will take the mound tonight. Eovaldi was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers last week in the Hanley Ramirez deal and defeated San Diego on Saturday with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 4-2 victory. He fanned five batters and issued just two walks.
"I worked ahead a lot. Me and (catcher John) Buck got on the same page early in the game, and they made great plays behind me," Eovaldi said afterward.
Eovaldi is 2-1 in his previous three decisions and is 2-6 with a 3.94 earned run average in 11 starts with both L.A. and Miami. The right-hander faced Atlanta for the first time in his career last Sept. 3 in a 2-1 win at Turner Field and held the hosts to a run and three hits in six innings.
The Marlins improved to 3-8 against the Braves this season with Wednesday's win.
08/02 10:23:20 ET