Make no bones about it, the Atlanta Braves are the hottest team in baseball right now. Currently riding a 13-game winning streak, today the Braves will begin a homestand with the cellar-dwelling Miami Marlins.
Coming into the next two series, the Braves find themselves with a very comfortable 15.5 game division lead over the ailing Washington Nationals, 16.5 games over the New York Mets, 17.5 games over the third-place Philadelphia Phillies, and a whopping 26 games over the Marlins.
Since the beginning of August, the explosive Justin Upton that made a quick appearance in April has returned. Upton has already blasted five home runs in the seven games Atlanta has played so far this month, and shows no signs of slowing down, going 3-4 with a double, 3 RBI's and a home run against the Nationals on Wednesday.
BJ Upton, Justin's older brother, has also had a very productive month since his return from the DL, batting .466 in the month of August. By continuing the production shown thus far in the month, BJ can easily bring his average above .200 in the upcoming series.
After this off-season's fire sale, the Miami Marlins were not expected to contend by any stretch of the imagination. However, they have shown flashes throughout the season.
One of the biggest flashes, the flame throwing RHP Jose Fernandez, will not be making an appearance in the series, as the rotation does not align for him to pitch against the Braves. Fernandez sports an 11-7 record, with an impressive 9.72 K/9, and a respectable 2.58 ERA for the rookie.
One would assume that playing the Marlins, as well as the struggling Phillies would be a prime time to extend the Braves' 13-game win streak, but as history has shown with divisional play, nothing can be assumed.
Friday, 7:30pm on Fox SportSouth: Braves RHP Brandon Beachy (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (3-3, 2.6 ERA)
Saturday, 7:10pm on Fox SportSouth: Braves LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 3.20 ERA) vs Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-2, 3.19 ERA)
Sunday, 1:35pm on Fox SportSouth: Braves LHP Mike Minor (11-5, 2.73 ERA) vs Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-1, 2.80 ERA)
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