Marlins in rare position to sweep Braves

MLB

Miami will send right-hander Pablo Lopez to the mound on Wednesday to do something the Marlins have not done in quite a while — sweep a series from the Atlanta Braves.

The Marlins beat the Braves 8-0 on Tuesday and will try to make it three in a row in Atlanta. Miami hasn’t swept a three-game set against the Braves since Sept. 25-27, 2015. Miami leads the season series 3-2, one fewer win than the Marlins had in 19 meetings against Atlanta in 2019 during an entire 162-game season.

The Marlins (19-18) clinched their first series win over the Braves in three years. Atlanta (24-18) has lost four of its last five games and saw its lead in the National League East shrink to 1 1/2 games over Philadelphia and 2 1/2 over Miami.

It’s an exciting time for Miami’s young club, Lopez said.

“You’re playing games that mean a lot for the team,” he said. “You feel the adrenaline and you feel the excitement.”

Lopez (3-3, 3.05 ERA) will be opposed by Atlanta left-hander Tommy Milone (1-4, 5.30).

Lopez lost his most recent start on Sept. 4 at Tampa Bay. He had one poor inning with an inflated pitch count and wound up working only four frames. Lopez allowed five runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Lopez started against the Braves on Aug. 14 and came away with a win. He pitched six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and eight strikeouts in an 8-2 victory. Lopez has made six career starts against the Braves with a record of 1-3 with a 3.44 ERA.

The Braves are hoping Milone can duplicate the effort in his last start on Sept. 4, when he pitched four innings and allowed one run in the first game of a doubleheader against Washington. Milone’s control was much better in his second start with the club since coming over in a trade from Baltimore. He did not allow a walk and threw 65 pitches, 43 for strikes.

“It felt good to get out there and have a good one, keep the team in the game,” Milone said. “I was happy to get out there and throw well.”

Milone has made six career appearances (three starts) against Miami, going 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA. He has not faced the Marlins this season.

Atlanta starters have struggled to go deep in games. Braves starters have completed four innings or fewer in 23 of their 42 games, an issue compounded by the news that ace Max Fried was placed on the injured list with a back spasm and will miss at least one start. Fried is the team’s only starter to complete five innings at least three times.

“Obviously, we want Max out there for all of his outings,” said Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos. “But it’s also about being smart and make sure we have this addressed as we move forward.”

The Braves may be getting Cole Hamels back before the end of the season. The team’s big free-agent signee has missed the entire season, most recently with left triceps tendinitis. Hamels was scheduled to throw live batting practice on Thursday and could appear as soon as Sept. 15 or 16 against Baltimore.

–Field Level Media

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