Preview: Marlins at Braves
GAME: Miami Marlins (53-79) at Atlanta Braves (54-77)
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 01 – 7:10 PM EST
WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
LINE: 115, -125 N/A TOTAL: N/A
The dawning of September brings with it expanded major league rosters for the final weeks of the season, giving the Atlanta Braves an opportunity to look at the centerpiece of their major trade-deadline deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hector Olivera, the 30-year-old who the Braves hope will provide sorely needed right-handed offense, is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday at third base when the Braves host the Miami Marlins.
Whether Olivera – who hit .179 in 16 games in the Braves minor-league system – lives up to Atlanta’s expectations remains to be seen, but the Braves need something positive after losing for the 28th time in the past 37 contests with a 4-0 setback on Monday. The Marlins also limp into September, winning for just the third time in 11 games in the opener. Second baseman Dee Gordon went hitless in five at-bats, dropping his average to .329 in falling behind Washington’s Bryce Harper in the race for the National League batting title. Third baseman Martin Prado added two hits, his 11th multi-hit performance in 42 contests since the All-Star break.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), SportSouth (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Justin Nicolino (2-2, 3.65 ERA) vs. Braves LH Manny Banuelos (1-2, 2.49)
Nicolino made his major-league debut in June and had four starts in August, going 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA and 26 hits allowed in 26 innings last month. He lost to the Pirates on Thursday, giving up two runs on six hits with four walks in six innings. The 23-year-old Nicolino, who has allowed two earned runs in each of his past three outings, is a second-round pick of Toronto in the 2010 draft who came to Miami in a 12-player trade following the 2012 season.
Atlanta pitching was smoked for 38 runs in three losses to the New York Yankees over the weekend, and its pitching plans were shaken when Monday’s starter Mike Foltynewicz was scratched due to flu-like symptoms. The Braves initially planned to deploy some combination of Banuelos and Edwin Jackson to cover the early innings of Wednesday’s series finale after demoting Williams Perez to Triple-A Gwinnett Saturday. The 24-year-old Banuelos allowed four runs on six hits in five innings to drop a 4-2 decision to St. Louis on July 24.
1. Atlanta traded LF Jonny Gomes Monday to Kansas City for minor-league INF Luis Valenzuela.
2. Miami RF Giancarlo Stanton, who has been sidelined since June 26 with a broken bone in his left hand, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Single-A Jupiter; pitchers Jarred Cosart (vertigo) and Jose Urena (left knee bruise) also are slated to pitch.
3. Braves SS Andrelton Simmons was a late scratch Monday with right ankle inflammation.
PREDICTION: Marlins 5, Braves 1