Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After an offseason of fire sale trades and fan angst, the 2013 Miami Marlins will finally take the field Monday night for the team’s home opener against the Atlanta Braves.
Miami enters the game just 1-5 on the season including the Washington Nationals sweeping Miami to start the season and Miami snatching defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday by giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lose to the Mets.
The Sunday loss ruined the first start of the Marlins’ lone bright spot thus far in the year, pitcher Jose Fernandez. The rookie struck out eight batter and allowed only one run on three hits in his five-inning Major League debut.
Fernandez is widely expected to be one of the Marlins’ top pitchers for several years. He wasn’t expected to be called up to the Majors so soon, but injuries forced the team to bring the dominating rookie up to the main roster.
On the mound for the home opener for Miami will be right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey. In his only start of the season, Slowey pitched 5.1 innings against Washington and gave up four hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out four.
The Braves will send southpaw Paul Maholm to the mound and he’s carried over a stellar spring right into the regular season. In his first start of the year, Maholm pitched 5.2 scoreless innings in a win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The biggest problem for Miami thus far this season has been the offense. Outside of last Friday’s seven run outburst, the Marlins haven’t scored more than three runs in a game. However, Miami has also faced some of the best pitchers in baseball during the series against the Nationals.
But the task for offense doesn’t get any easier with the Braves in town. Plus, Atlanta has one of the most deadly lineups any pitcher has to face all season.
The Braves will be without first baseman Freddie Freeman after he was put on the 15-day disabled list, but it hasn’t impacted the lineup yet. Atlanta is doing something other teams thought wasn’t possible and that’s getting the best out of both Justin and B.J. Upton.
The Upton’s, along with right fielder Jason Heyward give the Braves arguably the best hitting outfield in the National League, if not the Majors.
Atlanta is currently on top of the NL East through the first few games of the season heading into the Marlins’ home opener.
Last year, Atlanta flat out dominated the Miami Marlins. The Braves won 14 of 18 games against Miami and outscored the Marlins 93-39.