The struggling Marlins head into Atlanta to play a 4 game series against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves ended the Marlins magical playoff run last season with a clean 3-0 sweep in the NLDS before they fell to the eventual World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Not much has changed from the rosters that competed in the playoffs last season, and the Braves look to continue to capitalize on their mismatch with the Marlins. The Fish sit at 2-6 to start the season and the Braves sit at 4-5. Both teams have been victims to terrible umpire calls to start the season, but they both have struggled out of the gate in 2021. With 4 games for one of these teams to get back on track, let’s take a look at the matchups:
Game 1: Alcantara (0-1, 1.50 ERA) vs Ynoa (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Keys for Marlins: Sandy being Sandy, early run support
The Marlins clearly have a pitching advantage in this matchup. The question commonly remains whether the bats will be able to produce to capitalize. Alcantara has been steadily getting better every start, so don’t expect this game to be any different. Sandy has received exceptionally poor run support to start the season, making it important that the Marlins score early, before reaching a Braves bullpen that completely dominated their lineup last season.
Even in the Marlins 3-0 win against Mets, where Trevor Rogers had the best start of his young career, they left 10 runners on base. If the Fish are going to compete with the Braves lineup, they need to be able to score in these situations more consistently.
Game 2: Lopez (0-1, 1.54 ERA) vs Fried (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
Keys for Marlins: Pablo figuring out Braves
It’s no secret the worst start of Pablo Lopez’s career came in the 29-9 Braves win against the Marlins last season. This obstacle looks much harder to overcome in the face of the Braves’ ace Max Fried. If Pablo Lopez can pitch to the level he has this season, and the Marlins can sneak some runs across versus Fried, the Fish have a chance to steal this game. Out of all 4 games, this win will be the toughest to get.
Game 3: Neidert (0-0, 2.08 ERA) vs Morton (1-1, 3.27 ERA)
Keys for Marlins: Bats heat up
After pitching 4.1 innings of 1 run ball in his first career start, Nick Neidert gets an even bigger challenge in an extremely potent Marlins lineup. He matches up against a veteran Charlie Morton. With an inexperienced arm on the mound for the Marlins, the bats need to wake up to facilitate a victory. The Braves score a lot of runs. The Marlins need to score to keep up, especially when their top arms aren’t on the mound.
Game 4: Rogers (1-1, 1.80 ERA) vs Anderson (0-0, 4.35 ERA)
Keys for Marlins: Trevor continues upon success
For pitching fans, this is the game to tune into. Ian Anderson broke out last season going 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA. Trevor Rogers showed his true potential this past weekend versus the Mets, where he went 6 innings allowing 0 runs on 10 strikeouts. With Anderson looking to return to last season’s form and Rogers looking to continue upon his last start, it should be an exciting game to watch.
This series should be another strong set of pitching duels. Miami was fortunate enough to win these battles last season, but have struggled to seal the deal in 2021. The Braves lineup makes it even harder for the Marlins to figure things out, but if the Fish want to compete in the NL East, the Braves are who they have to go through.