The Atlanta Braves owned the Miami Marlins for the past seven seasons, but the Floridians are attempting to change the conversation this season.
Miami hopes to buck the trend when the National League East rivals open a three-game series in Atlanta on Friday.
The Braves have won the season series against Miami for seven consecutive years, taking 11 of the 19 meetings a year ago. Atlanta has won double-digit games against Miami in 15 of the past 17 full seasons.
The narrative has been slightly different this season. The teams have split six games, with the Marlins winning two of three in Atlanta last month and the Braves winning two of three in Miami last weekend.
Atlanta just split a four-game series against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, losing the finale 4-1 on Thursday to thwart its attempt to win three straight for the first time all season.
Miami did not play on Thursday. The Marlins were swept in a two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this week and have lost five of their past six games.
Both teams feature talented young catchers — Miami’s Jacob Stallings and Atlanta’s William Contreras.
Stallings has come back from a slow start to lift his average to .236. Over the past three games, he is 5-for-9 with two doubles, three RBIs and three walks.
“I felt like he was hitting the ball hard a couple homestands ago and didn’t have a lot of luck,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “A lot of solid contact, hitting the ball where it was supposed to be hit. Now he’s getting them to fall. He’s been swinging the bat really well.”
Contreras is the backup to Travis d’Arnaud, but he has been used in left field and at designated hitter to get his bat in the lineup. He has a five-game hitting streak during which he is 7-for-17 (.412) with three homers, four RBIs and five runs.
Contreras delivered a walk-off single to beat the Phillies on Tuesday.
“I was thinking, ‘Just put it play,'” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “That was big.”
The starting pitchers for the series opener are Miami’s Trevor Rogers (3-5, 5.20 ERA) and Atlanta’s Ian Anderson (3-3, 4.07).
Rogers made his latest start against the Braves on May 20. Dealing with a high pitch count (88), the lefty took a loss when he allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts in four innings.
Rogers will look to improve upon woeful career numbers vs. Atlanta: 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA in six starts.
Anderson made his most recent start against the Marlins on Sunday and took a loss. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six-plus innings. It was the most runs Anderson had allowed since his first start of the season.
In seven career starts vs. Miami, Anderson is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA.
The Braves were without two starters on Thursday: left fielder Marcell Ozuna, who was a late scratch due to a lower abdominal strain, and right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who missed his second game with a right groin strain. Snitker said Ozuna would be back in the lineup on Friday but that Acuna would not play for the third straight game.
Miami activated Joey Wendle and Richard Bleier from the injured list on Thursday. Wendle had been out since May 12 with a right hamstring strain, and Bleier has been out since May 8 for undisclosed reasons. The Marlins put right-hander Anthony Bender on the 15-day IL because of back stiffness and promoted utility man Willians Astudillo from Triple-A Jacksonville.
–Field Level Media