It’s the continuation of a series on the diamond down in South Beach between a pair of NL East teams. The Atlanta Braves are on the road as they play the third game of a four-game set and the second game of a doubleheader with the Miami Marlins Saturday night. Atlanta swept a two-game interleague set on the road against Boston as they won the finale 8-4 Wednesday night in their previous contest. Miami avoided a sweep at the hands of the Phillies on the road as they prevailed 3-0 in the finale of the set Thursday afternoon. This article was published prior to the conclusion of Friday’s series opener and the first game of the doubleheader Saturday afternoon at LoanDepot Park.
Atlanta Braves Trying to Close Gap in NL East AgainAtlanta swept their two-game set from Boston on the road as they bounced back from losing four of five to the Mets over the weekend. The Braves entered Friday second in the NL East race, seven games behind the Mets for the top spot in the division. In the NL wild card picture, they own the top spot and stood five games clear of the Brewers to remain on the right side of the cut line. On Wednesday, Atlanta got two hits from Dansby Swanson (RBI), William Contreras (run) and Vaughn Grissom (two runs, two RBI) in the contest. Marcell Ozuna (his 20th) and Grissom (his first) each homered in the victory. Kyle Wright (14-5) earned the win as he tossed six innings, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Spencer Strider is slated to take the hill for the Braves as he makes his 25th appearance and 14th start of the year in this contest. He comes in 6-4 with a 3.11 ERA, a 1.048 WHIP, 34 walks and 138 strikeouts over 89.2 innings of work this season. Strider took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the Mets Sunday. He threw 2.2 innings allowing five runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in a 5-2 Atlanta defeat. In his last three starts, Strider is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, four walks and 24 strikeouts over 15.1 innings of work. Strider makes his third career appearance and first start against the Marlins in this contest. He has put together a 0-1 record with a 27.00 ERA, a 6.00 WHIP, two walks and no strikeouts over one inning in those contests. Strider didn’t factor in the decision in his lone career appearance at LoanDepot Park, which came in relief on May 22. He threw a scoreless inning, allowing two hits with no walks or strikeouts in a 5-3 Braves triumph.
Miami Marlins Looking to Get Back on TrackMiami picked up the win in the finale of their set against the Phillies on the road Thursday but they are just 7-13 in the second half of the season entering Friday. The Marlins went into Friday’s game fourth in the NL East, 22.5 games behind the Mets for the top spot. In the NL wild-card picture, the team was 11.5 games behind the Padres for the final wild-card spot. On Thursday, Joey Wendle (RBI) was the lone player with two hits in the game for the Marlins as their pitching did the rest. Edward Cabrera (3-1) earned the win with 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Tanner Scott worked the final 1.1 innings, allowing no runs on two hits with one walk and three strikeouts, for his 16th save.
The Marlins have yet to officially name a starter for this one but the expectation is that Nick Neidert will get the call for his second start of the season. He comes in 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, no walks and three strikeouts at the major league level. Neidert took the loss in his season debut, which came back on July 30 at home against the Mets. He threw five innings, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts in a game the Marlins dropped by a 4-0 score. Neidert makes his third career appearance and second start against the Braves in this contest. He comes in with no record, a 4.05 ERA, a 1.65 WHIP, five walks and four strikeouts over 6.2 innings of work against them. Neidert is 1-2 with a 5.61 ERA, a 1.403 WHIP, eight walks and 18 strikeouts over 25.2 innings in seven career appearances, four starts, at LoanDepot Park. In the minors this season, Neidert is 4-0 with one save, a 1.96 ERA, a 1.043 WHIP, nine walks and 48 strikeouts over 46 innings in 14 career appearances, eight starts, with Triple-A Jacksonville of the International League.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This one is going to be a challenge for the Marlins, who have struggled to get anything going offensively since the All-Star break. Miami is expected to send Neidert to the hill here with Trevor Rogers on a rehab assignment after suffering back spasms in late July. Strider struggled in his last start but there is a big difference between facing the Mets and facing the Marlins. The Braves are a dangerous offensive team and they have played fairly well on the road this season. We’ve seen Strider pitch well most of the year and with the Braves’ bats far better than their counterparts, you have to give the upper hand to the visitors.
Full-Game Total Pick
Atlanta entered Friday having seen the over post a 58-49-5 mark in their 112 games on the year. The Braves are tied for tied for 4th in the majors in runs per game with 4.81 per contest and that number slips slightly to 4.75 runs per game away from home this season. Atlanta’s average total on the year is 8.85 runs per contest, a number that climbs to 8.94 runs per contest on the road this season. Miami entered Friday having seen the over post a 49-59-3 mark on the season. The Marlins entered Friday’s action tied for 26th in the majors with an average of 3.80 runs per game, though that falls to 3.76 runs per game at home. Miami has an average total of 7.94 runs per game, a number that remains flat at 7.94 runs per contest at home. Strider should shut down the Marlins and the Braves don’t put enough on the board to push this one over the mark. Look for this game to wind up under the total.