Three Strikes: Miami Marlins vs Atlanta Braves

While A.J. Ramos likely took some pressure off by successfully shutting the door on an opponent for a save Wednesday night, it would seem fair to speculate that Marlins manager Mike Redmond finds himself in the same situation entering this homestand as he did on the last one.  At 16-19, the team sits a Braves sweep away from either reaching .500…or reaching the same record that got Jeff Torborg fired in 2003.  Does Miami win the series- or do the Braves add to the pressure? Let’s find out.

Why Miami Wins The Series

  • Strike 1- Defense.  Second consecutive series against a top ten defense, but the Marlins still get to claim the advantage over twenty-nine other MLB clubs in that metric.  One of the few bright spots of the Dodgers series was a series of Web Gem worthy efforts by the Fieldin’ Fish (patent pending), and there would seem to be little reason to expect that trend to end.
  • Strike 2- Offense.  This one could go either way, really.  Marlins have the better batting average- Braves knock in more RBIs.  Yet Miami has more total runs, but the Braves hit more home runs. Leaning Miami due the five total runs Atlanta just put up against the Reds in their most recent series.  Throw in the Braves being significantly worse on the road and the offensive display Miami showed their last time in the friendly confines of the 305, and I think we can realistically hope for some fireworks.
  • Strike 3- Home Sweet Home.  The Marlins really seemed to find their stride second home trip in to the season with that 7-2 mark, and early polling data indicates that those numbers might be much truer to the norm than the 1-5 figure Miami put up to start the year.  Especially after a rough road trip, look for the Marlins  to shoot for making home games count.

Why Atlanta Wins The Series

  • Strike 1- Pitching.  Teheran, Wood, Miller.  Atlanta’s number three man has been excellent this season, while Teheran and Wood have been excellent historically against Miami.  Comparing the bullpens would be quite the depressing task, but rest assured Atlanta has had the upper hand here- although Braves closer Jason Grilli has been far less bulletproof of late.  Now the Marlins could get an adrenaline boost here if Henderson Alvarez returns Sunday- but smart money is he gets an extra rehab start; while likely ready, his career numbers against the Braves are terrible.
  • Strike 2- Pressure.  Going into the Dodgers series, I gave the Marlins credit for bouncing back from a tough Sunday loss to the Giants.  That…didn’t quite work out.  Benefit of the doubt gone, the Fish face substantial pressure coming into a series against an inferior opponent that’s a divisional rival…that has gone 4-2 thus far against Miami.  Talk has died down, but I really don’t think Mike Redmond survives a sweep.
  • Strike 3- Closer Carousel.  Worth calling special attention to.  Braves and Marlins always seems to be close, and Miami is currently on very shaky ground when it comes to close.
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