ATLANTA (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins have all but dropped out of contention for a National League wild card spot and the Atlanta Braves were buried by a horrid April, but two of the top pitchers in baseball will match up when the teams meet on Wednesday.
Miami sends ace Jose Fernandez to the mound in Atlanta, five days after a 14-strikeout performance, while Julio Teheran seeks his third victory in the past four starts for the Braves.
The Marlins have scored 14 runs in the first two games of the series after averaging 2.8 while losing 11 of the previous 15 contests entering the matchup with the Braves. Miami outfielder Ichiro Suzuki recorded two hits in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory, the 900th multi-hit game of his career.
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman blasted his 30th homer of the season Tuesday and finished with three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 19 games, and is batting .372 while recording hits in 30 of his past 31 contests. The Braves are playing .500 baseball (23-23) in their past 46 games after losing 66 of their first 99 contests.
Fernandez has pitched like a superstar in his first full campaign after Tommy John surgery, leading the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (12.8). He blew away the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, punching out 14 for his eighth double-digit strikeout performance in 27 starts, and has not allowed a run in three of his last four outings. The 24-year-old endured his worst start of the season July 2 at Atlanta, giving up six earned runs (nine total) in 5 2/3 innings, after allowing only one hit in seven innings against the Braves on June 21.
The Braves have averaged just 3.08 runs in Teheran’s 26 starts, but the 25-year-old Atlanta ace has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts. Teheran, who ranks 10th in the NL in ERA and eighth in WAR for pitchers (4.4), gave up two runs on four hits in a no-decision Friday against the New York Mets. He is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts against Miami this season, giving up five runs on 11 hits across 6 2/3 innings in his last appearance against the Marlins on July 1.
1. After recording 16 singles among its 17 hits in Monday’s series opener, eight of Miami’s 10 hits were singles Tuesday.
2. Braves LF Matt Kemp enters the series finale two hits shy of 1,500 for his career.
3. Marlins LF Christian Yelich went 2-for-3 Tuesday, improving his career average in 59 games against Atlanta to .329.
PREDICTION: Marlins 2, Braves 1
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