The Miami Marlins hope to continue their early luck against Atlanta Braves rookie right-hander Ian Anderson when the teams meet again Wednesday afternoon for Game 2 of the National League Division Series in Houston.
The Braves rallied from a three-run deficit to claim Game 1 in the best-of-five set 9-5 on Tuesday, getting home runs from Ronald Acuna Jr., Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson and a combined five innings of one-run pitching from five relievers.
Anderson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) appeared in a similar spot in the Braves’ first-round sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, starting Game 2 after his team had gone up 1-0.
The 22-year-old pitched brilliantly in his postseason debut, striking out nine in six shutout innings in a 5-0 win that sent second-seeded Atlanta into the NLDS.
Anderson fared well against just about every opponent this season except the Marlins. Counting his playoff win over the Reds, he is 4-1 in five starts against everyone but Miami.
However, he had no such good fortune against the Marlins, starting a pair of home losses — 5-4 and 4-2 — during which he allowed five runs (just one earned) and nine hits in 8 2/3 innings.
In his other starts, he gave up just six runs and 14 hits in 29 2/3 innings (1.82 ERA).
His chief nemesis in the Miami games was second baseman Jon Berti, who collected three singles and a double in five at-bats, driving in three runs.
d’Arnaud, hero of the Game 1 win with a three-run, tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning, is counting upon the Marlins seeing the real Anderson this time around.
“We feel pretty confident heading into (Game 2), especially with Ian going,” he said after Tuesday’s win. “He’s been tremendous for us all year. His demeanor is indescribable, and he’ll be ready.”
The sixth-seeded Marlins will counter with righty Pablo Lopez (0-0, 0.00), who did not pitch in last week’s first-round dismissal of the Chicago Cubs.
The 24-year-old went 2-1 with a 6.39 ERA against the Braves in the regular season, including going head-to-head with Anderson and getting the better of the rookie in a 4-2 win on Sept. 24. Lopez threw five shutout innings in that one.
Lopez, who has no postseason experience, served up two regular-season home runs to d’Arnaud, one in an 8-2 Marlins win on Aug. 14 and another as part of an 11-run, second-inning eruption by the Braves in a 29-9 shellacking on Sept. 9.
Lopez is 2-4 with a 4.43 ERA in eight career starts against the Braves, having also given up two homers to Acuna in 14 career at-bats.
In his three-year career, Lopez has seen Atlanta more than any other opponent, and the Marlins have now dueled the Braves more than any other team this season.
“We have a lot of history, so there are not a lot of secrets,” Lopez said of facing the Braves. “It’s just how we approach the situation, and if we see any adjustments, how we adjust to the adjustments. You do your homework, but it’s how you react to the situation.”
–Field Level Media