Be wary of Adam Duvall with runners on base.
If any team knows that warning well, it’s the Miami Marlins, who will play the second game of a three-game road series on Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves.
Duvall, who extended his hitting streak to nine games Friday in Atlanta’s 6-2 win over Miami, started this season with the Marlins. However, after Miami fell out of contention, the Marlins sent Duvall to Atlanta for catcher Alex Jackson on July 30.
Braves manager Brian Snitker loves having Duvall at the plate with runners on base. In those scenarios, Duvall is batting .293 (61-for-208) with 22 homers. With no one on base, Duvall is hitting .172 (42-for-244) with 12 home runs.
“I don’t know how to explain (that disparity),” Snitker said.
When runners are in scoring position, Duvall is particularly effective, hitting .320 (40-for-125) with 15 homers.
Speaking to Duvall’s ability to hit in the clutch, Snitker added, “What a great trait to have. I love players who have that tendency. He’s a different guy with runners in scoring position. He gets locked in.”
Duvall, who leads the National League with 99 RBIs, is closing in on what would be just his second career 100-RBI season. He drove in 103 with the Cincinnati Reds in 2016.
Of Duvall’s career-high 34 homers this year, four have come in his past five games.
The NL East-leading Braves, who are just 7-9 in their past 16 games, should be wary of the Marlins. Miami just took two of three from the New York Mets and also two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies in their two most recent series, the two teams that are chasing Atlanta for the division crown.
Atlanta (75-65) is 10-7 this year against the Marlins (59-82). In their past 11 games against Miami, the Braves are 9-2.
Another trend to watch is Miami’s road struggles this year (21-48). Atlanta is 36-33 at home.
Saturday’s pitching matchup features a pair of right-handers. Elieser Hernandez (1-1, 3.90 ERA) will start for Miami against Atlanta’s Charlie Morton (13-5, 3.47).
Hernandez is 1-1 with a 1.67 ERA in nine career appearances against the Braves, but he hasn’t faced them this year.
The Marlins are 3-4 this year when starting Hernandez, who has not lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings.
Marlins batters, who struck out 17 times on Friday, might struggle against Morton’s assortment of off-speed pitches.
In 18 career starts against the Marlins, Morton is 9-5 with a 4.04 ERA. He has been comfortable in Miami, going 5-2 with a 3.35 ERA in seven starts.
Morton, 37, will have to be wary of Marlins rookie right fielder Jesus Sanchez, who has slugged eight homers this season, including one on Friday that was measured at 429 feet.
“I think this will be a good finish to the season for him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Sanchez. “From last year to this year, there has been vast improvement.”
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, who rested Friday in his first game off since Sept. 19, 2019, is expected to be back in the lineup Saturday.
For the Marlins, third baseman Brian Anderson was ruled out for the season on Friday and will undergo left shoulder surgery. First baseman Jesus Aguilar (knee) also landed on the injured list this week.
–Field Level Media