The Miami Marlins are looking to continue their undefeated playoff history today against the Atlanta Braves. Game 1 of the series will take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, 2:08 p.m.
After a 19-year playoff drought and 10 straight early exits, the Braves have tapped into playoff mode. However, with Sandy Alcantara as SP with a 3.00 ERA, while striking out 39 batters in 42 innings this year, and giving up one run pitching into the seventh against the Cubs, the Marlins have an edge.
Still, the Braves are the favorites to win with depth in their roster and a stunning performance after dominating the Reds’.
NL East Rivalry, Series Prediction
The Braves are 29-9 against the Marlins and are ideal to sweep or win in four. This is the third time in the postseason the two teams will be facing off, as the Marlins are coming off a 7-0 postseason run.
“I wouldn’t call them rivals,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker Monday.
Both teams have had a rocky playoff history with the Braves not winning a postseason series since defeating the Houston Astros in the 2001 National League Division Series, and the Marlins’ last playoff run in 2003 after winning the World Series. Yet, they are about to go head-to-head to advance to the semifinals and change their team’s luck.
Center fielder Starling Marte is out after suffering a non-displaced pinky fracture on his left hand in Game 1 of the Wildcard Series. The Marlins are looking for backups Magneunis Sierra, Monte Harrison and Lewis Brinson to step up and deliver.
With Braves’ lefty, Max Fried as SP, players Harrison and Brinson are sought to impact the game. However, Fried’s shutout performance against the Reds leaves little room for the Marlins to take advantage. Nonetheless, with Alcantara at SP, he poses the biggest threat to Atlanta’s offense.
"That starting pitching they have, that's an unbelievable equalizer in any situation."
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) October 5, 2020
In 2018 the Marlins finished last and were 26.5 games behind the Braves. Last season, they lost 105 games. In 2020, they secured a playoff spot.
After 18 players tested positive for Covid-19, the Marlins’ season was almost over. Yet, the team decided to resume play after acquiring 17 new players, 7 of which did not participate in their spring or summer camps. As a result, the Marlins won their first five games after quarantine, pushing them 7-1, giving them a shot in the playoffs.
Jose Urena is out for the series with a broken forearm sustained on the last day of the regular season. Now, the Braves are looking for inspiration from other players to ignite their offense. With Fried as SP, the Braves are sure to set fire to its highly accredited offense to dominate the Marlins too.
The Braves also had a rocky start to their season after four players contracted Covid-19, including star player Freddie Freeman. However, after taking time to reconcile their team, the Braves had a great breakout season.
They are ranked second in the league with 103 HRs and are using this year’s obstacles as fuel to make it to the World Series.
The Marlins will need for Alcantara to be flawless to strike down the Braves offense.
With the lack of team depth and missing key player Marte, the Marlins will heavily rely on him. Alcantara is undefeated against the Braves posting a 2.41 ERA without recording a decision in three career starts. His victory against the Cubs allowing one run and three hits over 6 ⅔ innings will help him on defeating a highly-skilled Braves team.
The Braves’ best chance of winning the series relies on their offense showing up. Although Fried does not need to have another dominating game like against the Reds, the offense needs to be consistent. Additionally, the Braves has the best and well-rested bullpen compared to the Marlins which is ranked worst this year.
The winner of this series will advance to the semifinals to face the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Diego Padres.
Although the Marlins are the comeback kids fighting to restore their team, they will be pushed to the maximum against a Braves team who found their game.