While the Miami Marlins have an offseason of change to look forward to with a new ownership group set to take over, Giancarlo Stanton is doing everything in his power to leave his mark on the current campaign. The four-time All-Star attempts to become the sixth different player in major-league history to join the 60-homer club Friday when the Marlins host the second of four games against the struggling Atlanta Braves.
Stanton became the first player in the majors since 2001 to hit at least 59 home runs in a season when he notched his 10th multi-homer effort in 2017 in Thursday’s 7-1 series-opening victory for Miami, which learned Wednesday that a group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter had unanimously been approved to take over the team. The 27-year-old also broke a little-known major-league home run record with his 47th homer from the No. 2 spot in the batting order, breaking the old mark set by Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews in 1959. While the Marlins guaranteed themselves no worse than a second-place finish in the National League East - their best since 2009 - with the win, the Braves dropped their fourth straight and fell for the fifth time in six contests. Atlanta needs to win out to pull even with Miami and take two of the final three contests to avoid three straight 90-loss seasons for the first time since 1988-90.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves LH Luiz Gohara (1-3, 4.63 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Dan Straily (10-9, 4.08)
Gohara enjoyed the finest of his four career starts in a hard-luck loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, yielding only a solo homer among the five hits he allowed while striking out nine in seven frames. The performance was more in line with what the 21-year-old Brazilian did before his early-September promotion, as he posted a 2.62 ERA and fanned 147 over 122 2/3 innings in three minor-league stops. Gohara permitted two runs (one earned) over six innings in his only road outing at Washington on Sept. 13.
Straily settled for a no-decision Sunday at Arizona despite logging his first quality start in September, allowing one run on four hits and three walks over six innings. The 28-year-old Marshall product, who fanned nine to set a career high for strikeouts in a season with 167, has fared much better at home (5-3, 3.18 ERA) than on the road (5-6, 4.95). Straily was tagged for four runs (three earned) across five frames in a no-decision at Atlanta on Sept. 7 and is 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA in four starts versus the Braves this season.
1. With two hits and a steal Thursday, Marlins 2B Dee Gordon became the third player in major-league history to record at least two seasons with at least 196 hits and 58 stolen bases, joining Ty Cobb (five times) and Juan Pierre (three).
2. Atlanta is 34-17 at Marlins Park since the venue opened in 2012 despite Thursday’s setback.
3. Miami OF Ichiro Suzuki tallied his 27th pinch hit of the year in the opener, one shy of the record John Vander Wal set in 1995.
PREDICTION: Marlins 5, Braves 3