The Miami Marlins travel to Atlanta to open a four-game series with the Braves on Thursday, and odds are Giancarlo Stanton will continue his march to the 60-homer plateau. Miami’s slugging right fielder, who leads the majors with 53 homers, has blasted three in six games so far at Atlanta’s new SunTrust Park and five total in 11 matchups this season with the Braves, who have surrendered 66 homers in their past 48 games.
Stanton has hit 23 homers in his past 42 games entering the series opener for Miami, which has dropped four in a row to fall seven games behind the Colorado Rockies for the final National League wild-card spot. Even though Atlanta is 16 games under .500 and has won just two of its past seven, the Braves are 7-4 versus the Marlins this season. Atlanta split a doubleheader with Texas on Wednesday, winning the nightcap 5-4 after dropping the opener 12-8. Center fielder Ender Inciarte recorded five hits in the two games, raising his average to .307 on the season.
TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Dan Straily (9-8, 3.91 ERA) vs. Braves LH Sean Newcomb (2-8, 4.31)
Straily has pitched well against Atlanta this season, going 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts with 20 strikeouts and three walks in 17 innings. The 28-year-old has struggled in the second half – posting a 5.06 ERA and 1.519 WHIP since the All-Star break after recording a 3.31 ERA and 1.045 WHIP before the break. Straily gave up four runs in five innings on Saturday to get the victory against the Phillies, snapping a streak of six consecutive starts of allowing three earned runs or fewer.
Newcomb makes the 17th start of his rookie season after an August in which he showed both the control issues (22 walks in 31 1/3 innings) and power (35 strikeouts) that marked his rise through the minors. He allowed more than three earned runs only once in six August starts, but failed to pitch into the sixth inning four times. Newcomb, who took the loss Aug. 31 against the Cubs despite surrendering only two earned runs with seven strikeouts in five innings, gave up three runs in six innings against the Marlins on June 16 in his second major-league start.
1. Miami hopes 1B Justin Bour, sidelined since July 25 with a right oblique strain, can return to the lineup this weekend.
2. Atlanta’s catching platoon of Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki have been hit with pitches 29 times this season.
3. Marlins OF Ichiro Suzuki recorded his club-record 25th pinch-hit of the season Wednesday.
PREDICTION: Marlins 6, Braves 3