Miami Marlins (47-53) at Atlanta Braves (55-46)
Thursday, July 24 - 7:10 PM EST
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
The Miami Marlins play Thursday at the Atlanta Braves before heading to Houston for a three-game series, but Christian Yelich is not complaining about the time away from home. The left fielder carries a 17-game road hitting streak into the series finale, going 2-for-3 with a walk in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the Braves to raise his road batting average to .301. Atlanta won its first contest of the four-game set and improved to 3-3 on its current 11-game homestand, scoring at least five runs on six occasions in its past eight games.
The happiest player to see the Marlins leave town will be Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, who blasted a three-run homer Wednesday but is hitting 3-for-47 in 12 games against Miami this season. Freeman is hitting .314 against the remaining teams, 30 points lower than his average when his numbers against the Marlins are included. Miami’s offensive production has dipped in July; the Marlins are averaging 3.27 runs per game this month after scoring 3.74 in June and 4.54 per contest in May.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), SportSouth (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Henderson Alvarez (6-5, 2.64 ERA) vs. Braves RH Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.36)
Alvarez’s first start of the second half ended in the third inning Saturday when he took a comebacker off his left shin, but X-rays were negative and the Marlins have said all week they do not anticipate any problems out of the All-Star hurler. He has lost his past two starts, surrendering six runs on eight hits in five innings against the New York Mets on July 11. Alvarez gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings in his lone appearance against the Braves this season.
Harang’s next victory will give him double-digits for the first time since a 10-win campaign in 2012, a far cry from the 5-12 record he posted last season. He has won his past four decisions and fired six shutout innings Saturday, not factoring in the decision in a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia. Harang, who has pitched at least six innings in nine of his past 10 outings, was shelled for nine runs on 10 hits on April 30 at Miami, but has allowed three runs in 12 2/3 frames in his other two appearances against the Marlins this season.
1. Miami RF Giancarlo Stanton struck out three times Wednesday and is 2-for-12 in the series.
2. The Marlins are 40-for-51 in stolen-base attempts this season.
3. Atlanta placed RHP Anthony Varvaro on the paternity leave list, recalling RHP Gus Schlosser from Triple-A Gwinnett.
PREDICTION: Braves 3, Marlins 2