Preview: Marlins at Braves
Christian Yelich has solidified the top of the Miami Marlins' lineup in his second season in the majors and is batting .414 over his last 17 games. Yelich looks to remain hot when the Marlins visit the Atlanta Braves on Sunday for the rubber match of a three-game series. The Braves are fighting for a playoff spot, but put on a dreadful performance in Saturday's 4-0 loss, committing three errors and hitting into three double plays.
Atlanta, which is 10-5 in its past 15 games, sits 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the National League's second wild-card spot, and seven games in back of first-place Washington in the NL East. The Braves are hoping they have solved their issues in the leadoff spot, as Jason Heyward has hit at the top of the lineup for the past 16 games and is batting .328 during that stretch. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton drove in a run Saturday and is two away from reaching 100 RBIs for the first time in his career.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Nathan Eovaldi (6-9, 4.30 ERA) vs. Braves LH Alex Wood (9-10, 3.09)
Eovaldi is mired in a three-start losing streak, posting a 7.54 ERA while opponents are hitting .403 against him. He allowed six runs on 10 hits in only 3 1/3 innings Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. Eovaldi has made four starts against Atlanta this season, going 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA.
Wood is 2-2 in August but pitched much better than the record would indicate, posting a 2.43 ERA with a .193 opponents batting average and a 1.05 WHIP. He lost Tuesday to the New York Mets despite allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings. Wood is 1-2 in three games (two starts) against Miami with a 5.02 ERA this season, getting the victory with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief June 1.
1. Miami INF Jeff Baker is 12-for-34 with nine RBIs as a pinch-hitter this season.
2. Heyward, who had three hits Saturday, is 11-for-25 lifetime against Eovaldi with two doubles and a triple.
3. Stanton has 21 homers and 61 RBIs in 245 home at-bats, but just 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 251 at-bats on the road.
PREDICTION: Braves 3, Marlins 2