The Marlins have great young talent in both hitting and pitching. The Braves miss the powerful Josh Johnson, who threw a complete game giving up only one run on Sunday, but they do not get a break with Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez, and Andrew Miller.
Tonight’s game is crucial as the Marlins hit homers and Javier Vasquez struggles with the long ball, not to mention that Chris Volstad has pitched very well thus far (1-0, 1.80 ERA). Derek Lowe has the pitching advantage tomorrow night over the unpredictable Andrew Miller and the Braves need Kenshin Kawakami to cut back on the walks in order to depend on him in Thursday’s game against Anibal Sanchez.
Both teams need to keep up their offensive prowess throughout this week. Emilio Bonifacio has excited both fantasy and real baseball fans with his blazing speed and stolen bases and it’s hard to argue with a lineup that includes Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, and Cameron Maybin patrolling center field.
The Marlins will struggle on defense, which could prove disastrous, but they may be able to score enough runs to make up for the defensive issues.
Jordan Schafer has proved all of his supporters right so far this year. The Braves need him to keep his pace up. Jeff Francouer’s new swing may lead to fewer homers, but it led to two triples on Sunday. If he remains consistent, the Braves can continue to manufacture runs behind Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.
The X-factor for this series will be both teams’ bullpens. Both have shaky middle relief and closer consistency issues, so all three of these games may be won in the late innings.
At the very least, this matchup could be one of the best of the year and a precursor of things to come in the NL East.